Monday, December 19, 2011

Just call me Rudolf

December 19, 2011 (email)

Merry Christmas Everyone!! I hope you all are having a fantastic week! I said call me Rudolf because I've got this silly zit on the tip of my nose that is making it all red. Thank heavens I'm a missionary, and I don't have to look good for a date. And double thank heavens because I don't even have a camera to take pictures with! Hallelujah!!!!

Well, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD!!!!!!! Sorry, I don't have a gift, and I won't be making you an ugly cake like when I was a kid. I hope you have a beautiful day! (Either with actual sunshine, or the day looks like the gloomy day you got married, so it makes you all mushy at remembering it, and then the day feels beautiful.)

Here are a couple tid-bits that only a few of you will understand:
1. Sister Kesler knows Mannheim Meets the Mouse!!!!!!! I nearly had a cow when we discovered that! We started singing all over the trailer and dancing too.
2. Our milk carton says best if used by: DEC 25!!!!!! WOOOOTTTTT!!!!! Twice in one lifetime! What a lucky girl I am!!

Now for the week's information.
We usually drive into Farmington once a month....but this week we drove there 4 times in 5 days! Yuck. Monday to pick up our cleaned out and detailed truck. Tuesday to figure out the New Mexico license junk. Thursday to get our new money cards from the office. And on Friday a ward member drove us in for a ward dinner at Golden Corral. Oye. This week we go in again on Thursday for the Christmas Zone Conference.

On Tuesday we went to meet a referral from the sister missionaries in Farmington. The girl's name is Cejay (CJ...ya, weird) and her brother was baptized last summer. She liked the transformation in him and was asking lots of questions. She let us in immediately and was AMAZING!! Her brother had been giving her scriptures to read from the Bible, discussing stories and ideas from the Book of Mormon, given her the movies: Praise to the Man, and the Best Two Years, and was having her read Hinckley's Stand a Little Taller!!!!! Oh, and a Gospel Principles book!!! She was reading it all!!! I have never met someone so prepared! I have been involved with baptisms and people who were prepared, but all of the hard work was done before I got into Shiprock. This is the first person that I will see transform from door to water. It will be amazing. She accepted a "soft" baptismal commitment, which means if she feels its true, she will eventually be baptized. We hope to extend a hard commitment this week, which means picking a day with her! I'm so excited! We are trying to see her everyday, and it is wonderful.

On Wednesday we went to Red Valley and saw Jay. He had completed the pot I had asked him to design, carve, and paint for me. It is absolutely exquisite! I will get a picture of it for you...eventually! He wants me to carry it around wherever I get transferred so I can always remember him, but I'm worried about it getting busted. I might send it home for safe keeping. I just love this guy. We hit a glitch this past week though. We were reading and explaining 1 Nephi 13, and his dream. He got hung up on the blessed people being "white and beautiful" and then that there were imperfections in the Bible. In general the Navajo people seem to struggle with not being worth anything because of their skin. It drives me nuts! I don't see skin color! I just see my brothers and sisters. I just see lost individuals who need love. All he needs is someone who believes in him, who will tell him that he's important, and that his life is not wasted. Oh, I get so fired up when I see people just needing support...I know what they need, and how to give it to them, but I cant physically take care of EVERYONE (as much as I want to!)

On Saturday we were involved in a couple baptisms. There was one for an 8 year old girl who comes from an active family. This ward is weird and has everyone, converts and children of record, go through the missionaries. That's not the way its supposed to work. But I think it comes from a lack of Primary structure, and the culture of the people to expect it is someone else's responsibility to teach their children....Anyways....Rant over and moving on....She was afraid of the water. Deathly afraid. She had 2 panic attacks. Sobbing. Yelling. Screaming at the top of her lungs that she didn't want to get in the water. Her dad was standing in the font, and everyone was waiting, but she just cried. Sister Kesler jumped in and took her hands and walked her to the font. "Just look in my eyes, don't look at the water." Then her dad took over. He held her hands and offered some of the most comforting words I have ever heard a father utter. She was still sobbing and hyperventilating. But they did the baptism. We know she wanted it, because she said she did, and she knew she had to get in the water. She cried that she didn't want to get in, but she never fought back or kicked or anything. She moved of her own choice, just cried otherwise. I was worried someone was going to throw a fit about her being forced into it.....but it happened, and as soon as it was over, she was fine.

Now, as for this next week: we hope it will be good, but there is potential for lots of canceled appointments. The members are all filled with Christmas cheer, and want to feed us, but we want to get in some teaching too. On Sunday, the Christmas program is going to be a pitiful sight to see. Someone volunteered all the missionaries (without even asking us) to BE the program. We are going to be breaking up Luke 2 and each reading little sections. Then between parts, we are being thrown into the "Choir" to sing some hymns. Well....the choir is the 4 of us, and 3 (maybe 4) other people. They have 2 sopranos, so Sister Kesler and I are singing alto. I'm fine, but she doesn't know how to pick out alto part. We don't know what part their men sing, but Elder Wise sings base...but he's not very loud...at all. He knows his part, but he doesn't get up high enough for Elder Buynak to pick out his part. And poor Elder Buynak....the kid is literally tone deaf. Not trying to be mean, but he doesn't pick out different notes well. We all sat at the piano last night and tried to help him get his part. His voice is WAY low, and we figured it out....He can sing an octave lower than the base part, or he can falsetto an octave higher (or 2.) We aren't sure how this is going to turn out.

Please pray that the angels sing with us, or everyone will be slipping down in their seats during sacrament meeting, out of embarrassment for us. This is going to be rough. I'm completely serious, please pray that the angels are with us!

I love you all!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Love, Sister Melinda Wilkins

Monday, December 12, 2011

What a week

December 12, 2011 (email)

Well, I'm amazed I'm still breathing from all the excitement and commotion that happened this week!

Monday after emailing you we went on a hike to some ruins. It was so cool! There was a river bed that had had lots of water flowing within the past week, but had all gone downstream. All that was left was mud...that froze over...sort of. We started to sink whenever we walked on it, and it was all kinds of funky colors from the minerals and chemicals in the ground here. I would send you photos, but I can't...I'll explain later...

Then on Tuesday we had to take the truck into Farmington to get something fixed. I woke up at 5 am so sick to my stomach, but I got ready to exercise at 6:30 anyways. Right before we walked out the door I puked, but I felt instantly better and thought I would be fine the rest of the day. No such luck. I was such a mess I had Sister Kesler drive. Good thing, because right as we got into town I said, "Wow, I'm feeling much better!" but I threw up 2 minutes later. The best part was, we were driving, and I didn't want to be distracting, and I didn't want to make a ton of noise. I tried so hard....and TADA!! she hardly knew I was sick. I was so dainty!!!!! Mom, you would be so proud! (It was like when you where throwing up while pregnant with Della when we went camping and you did it in between sentences with the park ranger.) I was shocked at my skill! Let it be known I am growing up! Well, we continued in Farmington and I got worse and worse. We stopped at Walmart for some stuff, and we ran into a long lost cousin: Derryl R. Herring. He knew Sister Kesler when she served in Farmington. He's the sweetest old man ever! He grew up in Toadalina. He's a Bloomfield. His line goes through George and Lucy Bloomfield. I don't know who they are, but someone does. Well, we were talking to them, and I thought I would pass out. I started bracing myself against the display, but by the end of the conversation it was holding me up. When they FINALLY walked away, I just sat on the floor and put my head between my knees. I had to sit down once more while inside. Thank heavens we were able to get home and I had the Elders come give me a blessing. The rest of the day was kinda rough, but I woke up Wednesday morning feeling oodles better.

Wednesday was a normal Wednesday: we drove to Red Valley, we saw Jay (LOVE HIM!!!) and came back into town for activities at the Church. We were talking with some of my favorite members: the Nosker-Tanners. They are an Anglo family living here while he teaches at the high school. They have a tiny little baby who is the sweetheart of the ward. Everybody adores this little girl. Well, she started to walk last week, and I was determined to have her walk to me before she leaves for the Midwest for Christmas. She toddled over, and when she landed in my lap I threw my arms in the air and yelled/screamed for joy....but I scared the living daylight out of her!!!!! She started to WAIL!!!! and SCREAM!!! and she had the biggest tears I have ever seen. All the missionaries and her mother started to laugh at the situation, but I just started to cry with her. They tried to console her, but every time she would look at me her eyes would well up and she would SOB again. I was totally heart broken!!! She and I just cried and cried while everyone else nearly wet themselves laughing.

While we were sitting there, 2 teenage girls walked in who we had never seen before. They asked if they could walk around and see our church. The elders jumped up and showed them around. They spent so much time looking at photos and books in the library and asking really good questions. They pretty much got the restoration lesson and we were all stoked for these new golden investigators who wandered into the church. We decided to fellowship them a little and play some basketball with them. Eventually all the ward members cleared out of the building and went home. It got to be late and we said it was time to call it quits. We told them to have a good night and we'd see them around. I collapsed on the floor in the gym (as I was not fully recovered from being sick) as they grabbed their backpacks. Sister Kesler had set our keys on the table next to the Elder's keys and wallets. When they grabbed their stuff they must have taken our keys, because Sister Kesler came walking back into the gym and said she just watched our truck peal out of the parking lot and drive away. No one could believe it. We called the vehicle specialist and the police immediately. Then I realized my wallet was in there...so I called President and he said to call dad...I didn't want to call because I knew I would fall apart the moment I heard dad's voice. I did. I was proud I kept the call under 2 min.

With President's permission, the Elders gave us a ride home and we tried to remember what had been inside the truck. They drove off with both our wallets, all of our CDs, my camera, her jacket, a scarf, some gloves, my Book of Mormon DVDs that mom and dad had just sent me, the truck's GPS, and all of our tracting supplies like copies of the Book of Mormon, pass along cards, and our movies. We were so glad that we had our bags and other clothing inside (we had our scriptures and all that stuff, thank heavens, and we had brought in our jeans and sneakers to play basket ball.)

We were all saying prayers left and right. I didn't want to be too greedy, so I only prayed to get the truck back, and not my stuff (bad plan: be specific with Heavenly father, because he will give you what you ask for.)

We had to break into our trailer because our house key was with the truck keys. But we weren't worried about getting our stuff stolen because the girls said they were from another city and we didn't expect them to know where we lived. The police showed up at midnight after we were in bed to get our official written statements.

Thursday was kinda rough, because we had to walk everywhere and our appointments started falling through and we couldn't get anywhere very easily. I had a mini melt down (no tears, just serious frustration and feeling like I was being pulled in every direction. It was the first time on my mission that I wasn't a happy camper, and was downright grumpy. The other missionaries didn't like seeing me down, because I am always so positive and cheerful.) But eventually it wore off and I was back to myself.

Friday was the same deal. I wasn't upset with the girls. I just felt bad for them. Their lives are so messed up that they thought it was okay to steal from "Jesus People" who had just been really kind to them. I thought how miserable their lives must have been to not have the good family upbringing I did. Sister Kesler thought I was nuts and that I should be upset, but Elder Buynak agreed with me. It was a long day, but we got it done. I resigned to the fact that it had now been almost 48hours and we would probably never see our stuff again.

Then around 6 the mission vehicle coordinator called and said he felt bad that we were stuck out here without any food or money, and that he wanted to bring us some supplies and have dinner with his wife and us at our trailer. He said he would be there at 8 pm. We did our thing that night, and came back at 7:30 to spruce up the place. At 8 they weren't there. Five after, ten after. Fifteen after...still nothing. Then I realized there was a message from President Jones on the phone, and we started to hyperventilate while listening. We didn't totally understand, but it sounded like they had found the truck!!! We called the Elders to tell them the news and while on the phone we hear honking outside. We ran outside and screamed into the phone! There was our truck with the mission vehicle guy driving it. The elders dropped everything and came immediately over. Then the coordinator's wife drove up. We all started to cry and celebrate as they told us what happened.

Elder Helquest was going to take his wife out to dinner on Friday night, but felt miserable that we were without food or money while he was sitting pretty. He decided to bring out food and dinner. He thought he would watch one more TV show before coming, but 5 minutes in something told him, "You need to leave NOW." They drove into Shiprock and were getting close to us, when a Colorado truck drove next to them. He thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if that were the sister's truck," but then he saw the plate and KNEW it was ours. He had a mini adrenaline attack and started to follow the truck while his wife called the police. The police came immediately and were able to pull over the truck. Inside were at least 5 people: the 2 girls who stole the truck, 2 guys, and a young teen passed out drunk in the backseat. The car was thrashed, but instead of impounding the vehicle like we were told they would do, they let Elder Helquest take it right then and there and bring it to us.

We were to go through all the stuff, out what was ours and then take the rest of it back to the police station that night. The Elder's helped me clean out all of the junk while Sister Kesler and the Helquests got dinner all situated. The entire car was covered in alcohol and vodka. They had candy and food and wrappers and filth everywhere. All kinds of clothing and make up and stuff. Our things were strewn across the floor and stuffed into the pockets behind the seats. At one point I started pulling clothing out of the cup holder in the door and realized it was a pair of little black underwear. The elders got quite a kick when I threw it disgustingly at the truck bed.
We got inside and started sorting through things. Sister Kesler's coat was missing, but that was about it. We found her wallet, and ID, her temple recommend, and her CD case. My cd's were in a holder on the visor, and they were all gone. My new dvds were gone. My wallet was there, but not my license (thank heavens they didn't toss my social security card, which I had just left in there since traveling at the airport.) My camera was gone. Elder Helquest says he saw a camera when they took the car back, but he didn't know where it went. We checked with the police on Saturday, but they don't know anything about it. There is one last officer we have to ask, and we plan to do that today.

Elder Helquest took the car to Farmington to get it detailed, and we got a loner for the weekend. I'm working on getting a license from New Mexico. I should have prayed to get my possessions back....Sister Kesler prayed for the car and her stuff, and her's was all returned. I only prayed for the truck, and didn't really get my stuff back. But she and I and the Elders are still praying for my belongings now, so maybe there is a chance..... So that was the story of the truck. I am going to ask Sister Kost, Sister Tsosie, Elder Munns, and Elder Buynak to make CDs for me of pictures they have that relate to me so that I can have some sort of collection of photos.

Saturday was just any other Saturday....except it was transfer news night. I was sure I was gone. Totally sure. Well...........nothing is changing in Shiprock! It is still Kesler, Wilkins, Buynak, and Wise.

Sunday there was an amazing Child of Record Baptism.

Now, we have to drive into Farmington to get our truck before a huge storm hits.

Love you all!

If you were going to get a gift for Christmas, it will have to wait because I don't have any access to money. SO you will get New Years gifts. And as for letters...it may take a while to respond because I don't have money to buy stamps.

Love,

Sister Melinda Wilkins

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Has Come to Shiprock!!!

December 5, 2011 (email)

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!


Ok, I know it isn't actually Christmas yet, but it seriously snowed here, and I we have Christmas music playing constantly, and... I got 2 HUGE packages from my Family! (Thanks mom and dad, and Hardy clan!!!) Look at how stinkin' cute that Christmas tree is!! I love it! you guys totally know me by getting sparkly, colorful ornaments, and as for those lights...DANG! Those little buggers are INTENSE!!!! I've got a whole loot of stuff, and I haven't even opened it yet!! Grandma and Grandpa Hardy: That "Good Stuff" is AMAZING!!! Holy Cow!!!! I'm trying to savor it, but I think I may have to make myself a batch, or two, or six. And the caramels from home....I screamed out loud, spun around, and did a little dance. (The Elders jumped back at my extreme reaction to the sugar....they delivered them to me and were just as excited to see what was in my big packages.)


I included a picture of me standing on a cliff, edge, thing....that is what a lot of our hikes look like. We rush to get all of our P-Day requirements done, and then hike all day. This thing was nuts! The ledge we walked on came to a point, with maybe only a foot wide space to walk. Either side was a steep drop. Then we got to the cliffs we wanted, and found a "path" that lead around it. The Elders were running along the path, but Sister Kesler and I just clung to the steep cliff wall and inched our way around straight rock up one side...a path barely 2 feet wide...and a "drop off" twenty feet down. We couldn't believe the Elders were dumb enough to climb it, but then we realized we were stupid for following them :)

I also threw in some photos of our baptism this last Saturday. His name is Kamriyano Tyler (Pronounced like the Toyota car : camry-ano.) He is 12 years old, and a stud. His mom and sisters were baptized years ago, but wen inactive when they moved to Shiprock. His mom stopped us one day and said to come teach him. OK!!! sure!!!! He is so smart, and so quick, and he really wanted to learn. He took to righteous principles quickly and his prayers were amazing! He would stutter and be a mess, but they were heartfelt and sincere. He gained a testimony of everything so quickly. It was great to work with him and fall in love with his family.

This week we find out about transfer news...I get the feeling I might get moved, but I really don't want to go. I want to stay here for Christmas, but it wouldn't surprise me to leave. I'll go where the Lord wants me to go....I hope I can just do it with a happy heart.

Did you get to watch the Christmas Devotional last night? It was AMAZING!!! I loved the little movie clip! It's going to be awesome for missionary work. My favorite parts were 1) the angel: he had such cool effects around him, and it worked really well. 2) When the shepherd came to Mary, she actually looked tired! I hate it when she looks all bright eyed and bushy tailed. She just had a BABY for heaven's sake! She should look exhausted!!!!

Did I tell you I got a hair cut? Not much, just a couple inches, but the lady is NOT as good as Aunt Melanie...the layers were a mess, so I had to fix them....that is tough...
Oh, and you can tell from the photos...I'm getting chunky. I'm not bashful about it. I'm getting round. You can totally see it in my face. I've put on 20 pounds since I left. It is all the fry bread and sheep fat! ugh.

I love you! Next time I write I'll know if I'm staying or leaving!!

Love,

Sis. Melinda Wilkins

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Details for Dad

November 28, 2011 (email)

Dad,

Dang, I'm a bad letter writer! You might want to put your questions and my answers on the blog for everyone else too. Okay, here goes...

1) Dad: We loved the details in your last letter. Could we get more of this? For example, you happened to mention that the dogs come back to the trailer to get food (so we know you live in a trailer, not a house or apartment) but you never describe it.
Sister Wilkins: We have a trailer. We call it The Ark because its the biggest one on the reservation and it has a giant ramp leading up to it. It is stationed perpendicular to the Seminary building/trailer across from the high school. It opens into a LARGE living room. There is a hall down the right with 2 rooms. One for study, and the other for all kinds of junk that has been left over the years. Next to the living room is a kitchen, LARGE thing. Then a short hallway to the left with washer and dyer, and a bathroom about the size of Della's bedroom. Our room is big, and we each have queen sized beds! The Elders are really jealous.

2) Dad: What is a typical day like?
Sister Wilkins: Our day starts at 6:30. We get up at 6:15, get dressed, and walk across the 2 lane highway to walk the track at the high school. From 7-8 we get ready. 8-9 is personal study. 9-11 is companion study. Then proselyting. Wednesday night is Young Women's and a Relief Society book club for the New Daughters in Our Kingdom book. Thursday night is Young Single Adults, which we are in charge of, and we play basketball or volleyball at the church.

3) Dad: How many people do you usually teach? What are their names? Could we pray for them by name?
Sister Wilkins: We teach mostly less active families that want to get involved again, and they always have children that are overage that they want to get baptized. We haven't been tracting this entire transfer because we've been busy. I could tell you their names. For now, here's one: Jasper (Jay) Deale. He lives an hour away from the church and doesn't have a car. He's a less-active man who was baptized as a kid with his mom but she stopped coming immediately. He is a long lost friend of mine from the pre-mortal life. I know it. I was sent to Shiprock for him. Please pray that he will find joy in the scriptures, that he will understand their teachings, and that he will be able to make it in for church.

4) Dad: How often do you chop wood? Is it scheduled or do you just ask an investigator/member if you can do service for them and you go out and chop wood in your dress? Do you have gloves?
Sister Wilkins: We chop wood for members a lot. We usually do it 2-3 times a month. I have gloves, because I was getting calluses. I'm a good little chopper. Elder Buynak and I have a pioneer work ethic and we chop and chop while our companions sort of stand around. We bring jeans and sneakers almost everywhere just in case someone needs help. I always change, but I wouldn't put it past me to chop in a skirt, it can TOTALLY be done. Actually, people are always surprised when they see me chopping wood. I'm little, but I'm a tough little bugger, and I don't give up on a piece easily.

5) Dad: How is it that you got to go to Four Corners? Isn't that out of your area. Or is your Shiprock area so large that it includes Four Corners?
Sister Wilkins: Shiprock District is HUGE! It covers Shiprock, TeesNosPos, and Toadalina. Four Corners is in Tees' area, like, 5 minutes from their trailer.

6) Dad: Your truck was low on allowable mileage so you had to walk home from the store in the rain. Do you get extra mileage because the reservation is so large? How do you get to go off-roading using 4-wheel drive, doesn't that use up your mileage?
Sister Wilkins: We have 1300 miles a month. Which is about 33 miles a day and we are really proud of ourselves when we do a 20 mile day, but every Wednesday when we drive to Red Valley, we easily do 90 miles. If we are smart with our miles, we have left over at the end of the month, and if we don't use them, our allotment will shrink, so we go exploring...

7) Dad: Does Shiprock have a regular sized chapel, or is a phase one building like Grandpa and Grandma had in San Carlos? Do you have a baptismal font or do you have to go somewhere else to find one?
Sister Wilkins: Shiprock has a good sized chapel, it is a normal little thing. One of the kind where everything is placed on a diagonal. The rooms are wonky shaped because the rectangle of the building is at 45 degrees to the rectangle of the chapel and gym. The building in Tees is tiny. Much smaller than the San Carlos building. We have a font, but Tees and Toad have to come in and use ours.

8) Dad: You've mentioned that there are also Elders in Shiprock. Is the area divided geographically, or do you dived it by the type of investigator you are teaching? Do the members give you referrals, or do you do a lot of tracting?
Sister Wilkins: The Elders are in charge of the North and East sides of Shiprock and we cover far West and deep South. We have the fun stuff.

As for Christmas...They ask us not to give out our PO box address, but they don't do anything to us if we do. If the package is sent Priority they can forward it to us in Shiprock. If not, we have to wait until we go into town, which is once or twice a month. They probably want them in early so that they can forward them before transfers, because the week before they start holding them until they know where everyone is going. Send it to the mission office, and it will get to me before transfers, and if it doesn't, I'll have to go to Farmington for transfers anyways.

I love you. Sorry I'm bad with details!

Sister Melinda Wilkins

Thanksgiving

November 28, 2011 (email)

Hello everyone. This may be short because I wrote a long letter to dad...hopefully he will post it on the blog.

This week was rough numbers-wise because we had 2 p-days (Thanksgiving) and a zone conference. But Thanksgiving was great!

We went to our Ward Mission Leaders home with just him and his wife. Sister Kesler and I came early at 9 to cook food while the Ward Mission Leader and the Elders went to chop wood. We finished and all sat in the living room. Sister Walser had the Thanksgiving day parade on TV, and she watched while Sister Kesler gave her a foot massage and I wrote in my journal and tried to do letters. The Elders came back totally beat, but we made them stay awake and eat. We were totally surprised that we didn't have any sheep at Thanksgiving. We had turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, jello, yams, bread, cranberry stuff, and a bunch of other goodies. I was amazed at how much I packed in. For how small I am, I was able to eat as much as everyone else. They all watched as I sat and tried to finish it. They made me show I had swallowed like in Fear Factor.

We were all too full to do much, so we decided to go on a walk, and the Walsers suggested the actual Shiprock. They brought their dogs and it was funny watching them follow Elder Buynak all over the place. He's a monkey and climbs everything and the dogs were always by his side. You'd see him reach a peak and then pop! the dogs show up beside him.



We came back and had dessert: ice cream, yummy raspberry stuff, pumpkin pie, cheese cake and something else tasty. It was a really relaxing day.

We have a baptism this weekend...which means there will be tons of opposition this week. Ugh, but glad game: someone is entering the gate to the CELESTIAL KINGDOM!!! IT doesn't get much better than that. The little boy's name is Kamriyano Tyler. He's 12. He's way smart and quick. He's excited to get the priesthood and be able to go to the temple with his mom ( who is working on going to do baptisms for the first time in years!)

Well, I love you all!

Love,

Sister Melinda Wilkins
Hand-Written Letter Dated November 25, 2011

Dear Family,

I hope you had a TERRIFIC Thanksgiving. Mine was really nice, I mean as nice as a missionary holiday can be. We spent it with the Ward Mission Leader and his wife. They are sweet and enjoyed having missionaries over instead of it only being the two of them.

We started discussing what we were thankful for, and I said a Dad who would be/is healthy. First on the list is the Gospel, then my family, then dad's health, and then...toilet paper. Seriously, that stuff saves lives.

I am for sure in Shiprock for another two weeks, but then Transfers happen. I don't want to leave Shiprock, but I feel that I might be transferred. Bummer. I really want to be here for Christmas. I love the people here. The ward members know me now and they trust me. There are so many lives that are changing.

Many missionaries talk about "their focus" meaning some spend all their energies on finding (tracting), others on numbers, or baptisms, or building up the ward. I've discovered mine are 1) The Book of Mormon, and 2) reactivating less-active members.

1) The Book of Mormon has the power to change individuals and families. Reading it brings a surge of the spirit into lives, homes, and families. When someone knows it is true, nothing else can really stand in their way.

2) Reactivating less-active families is more the responsibility of the ward, but when a ward doesn't do that, the responsibility falls on the missionaries. It does no good if missionaries baptize four dozen people, if they all go inactive immediately. It means that missionary didn't do their job well enough and the person is practically "condemned" to the Terrestrial kingdom. I won't have that.

Most of these less-active members have been hurt and didn't want to come back, or didn't know how to come back. I want to love them all and show them what is possible. I want them to know someone loves them and believes they can accomplish anything. I want to bring families to the Celestial kingdom. I want to see temple sealings! I want to see strengthened families and love abounding where there was once only confusion and anger. At least in Shiprock, I'm having more success finding the lost sheep than I am bringing in new ones. And I'm okay with that. Either way, souls are coming into the light.

I hope that you all are making conscious steps into the light. It is so wonderful and peaceful. I have been so thankful recently for my family and the atmosphere I was raised in. We had love and joy. Lots of JOY. Lots of silliness. Lots of rootin' tootin' good times.

Speaking of good times, I included the photos of when we helped "butcher." That is the technical term for any part of the family and social gathering that involves killing, draining the blood and skinning a sheep; harvesting and cleaning out its insides; cutting and cooking the meat; and the big free-for-all when the food is served. If you look at the Ache'ee (the nasty fat wrapped in intestine), I think it looks like a mutant nasty grub thing that only an alien would eat. Then when it gets cooked on the grill, it looks like a burned centipede missing its legs. Not enticing. Once the intestine is cleaned out, it feels like slimy rubber-bands.

I know dad had surgery already, but if he needs another kidney, I know where to find one.

Wrapping the Ache'ee: Strips of fat with cleaned out intestine wrapped around it. Oh, and don't forget the bloody bowl of gizzards.

The cooked Ache'ee. Can you tell from my face that I'm dreading the next moment? Because I DID NOT want to put it in my mouth.

There is a photo of me patting out the fry-bread. It starts in a little dough ball and then you use your fingers to press it into a disk slightly bigger than your palm. Then you pat it back and forth as if you were clapping and rotating your wrists 180 degrees each clap. I'm getting much better at it. I haven't been taught how to make the dough yet. All I know is that they eyeball it and use flour, baking powder, salt and water. That's it. The same recipe and technique for patting it out is used for fry-bread and tortillas. I prefer the tortilla... less grease. Oh, and instead of using vegetable oil, they use LARD! Tastes great, but makes you want to roll over and die when the meal is over. You wonder why I've put on 20 pounds since I left home! Well, I can't think of what else to say. Do you have any questions for me?

Making fry-bread. It is actually round (instead of being lop-sided and messed up!)

Love you!

Sister Melinda Wilkins

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SHEEP!!!!!!!

November 22, 2011 (email)

GUESS WHAT!!!! WE HELPED BUTCHER A SHEEP!!!! It was AMAZING and TERRIBLE at the same time!

We went to do service at a member's home, went around back to chop wood, and TADA!! All of their extended family was there butchering. But it gets better: all of their extended family are less-actives and investigator families that we are working with!!!! We didn't even know they were related! Sis. Kesler got all into holding the innards. Gross. I didn't want to, but by the end I had held everything, poked the bucket of blood, watched them squeeze the poop from the intestine, and got blood splattered on me!

I thought we could sneak off, but no. We got roped into making Achee'ee. Its a terrible thing! Strands of fat, wrapped in INTESTINE!!! HORRIBLE!!! Then they made us eat it! I had vowed when I got to Shiprock that I would never touch the stuff. That worked well, because I not only touched it, but I made it, and then ate it. But it gets worse. I ate it from the bloody fingertips of the sister who had cleaned out the sheep and squeezed the poop out! It's AMAZING that I didn't die from food poisoning. I didn't even burp up the nasty taste. It was bad. You chew and chew and chew and chew and chew and chew and nothing happens, so you have to "SWALLOW IT WHOLE!!" (That quote was for you Ashlee and Charli.) Then we had all the other parts of the sheep. Plus fry bread, which I made by myself!!! Perfect circles! And I made dumpling stew: ripped up dough tossed in the boiling water that is cooking chunks of meat.

But is that the end of the crazy things they fed us?!? NOOOOO!!!!! They cut off the head, burn the hair off on the grill, and then wrap it in tin foil and they cook it for a few hours. Then they split the head open and fed us the TONGUE! BRAINS! and EYEBALL!!!! I ate them allllllllll!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe myself. The tongue was the best part of the whole sheep. The eye was like a fried egg with an olive sliver. And the brains were like hot rice pudding (in texture) they start out solid in your mouth, but then disintegrates into nothing. UGH! But they all taste like a barnyard. Ugh ugh ugh. We just laughed and giggled through the whole thing. I didn't have my camera, but they did. They printed off the photos yesterday and I will send them in the mail next week.

I attached a photo of me and Sis. Kesler. I really like it. You can tell how large of a girl she is. She towers over me and all the people here. They ALWAYS comment on how tall she is.


I also put a picture of me and Jay. He is probably one of the reasons I was sent to Shiprock. He lives out in Red Valley, so we only see him once a week, and it kills me. He is a less-active and he is amazing. He's an artist and he is making a custom Navajo pot for me. I'm so excited.


Then there is a picture of one of the elder's creations. The ward set up all the tables and chairs for a thanksgiving dinner, but we needed to move them for our YSA basketball. The elders got creative and TADA and Rameumptom (or however you spell it.)

WE had a miracle on Sunday! THEY OPENED THE OVERFLOW FOR THE CHAPEL!!!! For the second week in a row we had over 170 people!! (Instead of only 110.) AMAZING!!! Let's keep it up.

I hope this was a slightly more interesting letter, my last few have been sad and short. I have a challenge for you all this Thanksgiving week. Get a big piece of paper, and fill it completely with all the blessings in your life. Be specific and think. For example, at the top of my list would be my family and the gospel and specific blessings from following commandments. But right beneath that is toilet paper, bag balm, and stretchy clothing. Please do it. One last request, please have family prayer kneeling down every night: with family members or roommates. Please.

I love you!!!
Love, Sis. Wilkins

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Overwhelmed

November 15, 2011 (email)

I can't even think straight. I just heard about Dad's surgery, and I'm totally shocked and thrilled. I can't believe it happened! Can't believe it! We waited for this so long, and I can't believe it. I'm just sitting here, and I can't think straight I'm so excited and thankful.

Yesterday we had the miraculous blessing of going to the Monticello Temple as a mission. It was amazing!! I couldn't believe how strong the Spirit was, and how close I felt to Heavenly Father. I sobbed and sobbed in the Celestial room. IT was wonderful beyond words.

Things in Shiprock have really picked up. We are working with a lot of less active families and we had the highest sacrament attendance I have ever heard of. We had over 170 people in comparison to the average 110. WOAH! We couldn't believe our eyes. They blessed the sacrament 3 TIMES!!!!!

Its finally frozen here. It snows lightly, but melts before it hits the ground. We have to clean our windshield off with credit cards every morning.

We are still working with crummy computers, so I will send photos next week. Hopefully I will be able to send a better letter. This was a pretty sad letter.

Love, Sis. Melinda Wilkins

Monday, November 7, 2011

November

November 7, 2011 (email)

Hello Everyone! Happy November!!

Well, I sent 2 photos of my Halloween pumpkin. I couldn't figure out what to do, so Elder Buynak and I decided to go all missionary on it. We carved the Plan of Salvation. It was a 2 person job. We had a pre-mortal life, veil, earth life, paradise/prison, "judgement", and the 3 kingdoms. I'm actually pretty happy with it. Bummer though, we didn't have any candles. We had to turn off the lights in the kitchen at the church, and hold it up to one of the spot lights. It looked pretty cool. I think we did a good job, especially because Sis. Thomas broke all of our carving knifes in the first five minutes. We accomplished our feat with switch blades and crummy steak knifes.

There is another photo of me on a tractor. I think I'm pretty stinking cute on it! I was trying to imitate the one we have of Grandpa Wilkins when he was a boy, but wearing a skirt and nice coat looks really different from thermals and a hat.

This week I got Sis. Kesler as my new companion. She is a combination of Kristin Lang and Cameron Smithson. So...We are going to get along very well. She is 6 foot even, and built like a linebacker. She is a tough cookie, in the most endearing way. She is really creative and writes songs and stories. She thinks I'm the silliest thing around (and I might be.) She loves Manheim Steamroller and we might listen to it 3+ times a day. We do a lot of giggling, thank heavens...I've missed that.

We did have a miracle this week: we got back in the door with 2 investigators who had pretty much dropped us. I guess they didn't bond well with Sis. Thomas, but they loved Sis. Kesler within the first 2 minutes. HOORAY!!! Oh how I love these girls! They are amazing.
Here is the BIGGEST NEWS OF THE CENTURY!!!! For the first time ever, the New Mexico Farmington Mission is going to have a TEMPLE DAY!!!! All of the missionaries are going to travel to Monticello and participate in a session. There are a couple different session through the day, but it will be only us missionaries. They don't rent clothing there, so we have to borrow from members. Most areas wouldn't have a problem with that, but we don't have a ton of endowed people. Let alone someone who is Sis. Kesler's size. We did find a larger woman who is willing to sew fabric on the bottom of her dress, and we thought we had made it to cloud nine. One of my favorite sisters in the ward is exactly my size and said I could borrow her clothing. Everyone is so excited. We all start to glow as we talk about it. I hope everything works out so that we can go without any complications.

I love you all! so very much!
Sharla and Alex, Congratulations!!

Sis. Wilkins.
sorry this was so short, I had extremely limited time

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Halloween!!



Monday, October 31, 2011 (email)

Hallo, Happy Ween!

What a week: filled with stress, joy, giggles, tears, and sore muscles.




On Monday we drove out to Four Corners...not as big a deal as you think it might be. But I did buy a magnet (sarcastic woot.) And a turquoise ring. I wasn't going to do it, but Elder Buynak saw it and went nuts over it. (he rarely shows emotion, so I knew he must REALLY like it). It is stinking cute, and I've never seen one like it. We also drove out to a waterfall. When I say drove, I mean off-road in a truck. The road was really just a wash that had trees on either side. I have never seen a car do what we forced out truck to do. IT WAS AWESOME!!


We had rain on Tuesday and Wednesday. So much rain! Then we had to drive out to Red Valley and cove. WAY FAR. MUD MUD MUD MUD MUD MUD MUD MUD MUD MUD MUD MUD MUD MUD MUD MUD . Plus a couple rivers that weren't there the week before. We were fish tailing and sliding all over the place. Fun until Sister Thomas almost got us stuck. I was not excited to get out and push us out. Thank heavens for 4-wheel drive!!


Saturday night was the Ward Trunk or Treat. As you can see, "I'm a beautiful Butterfly!!!" (name that movie.) I have been so excited for this costume for a MONTH! and look at my make up!! ITS AWESOME!!! I've never done anything like it before, but I think I did a pretty good job.

Saturday night was really stressful. One, because of the activity: it wasn't our responsibility at all, but everyone left us missionaries to do the whole thing. Two, because it was transfer news night. NOT EXCITED!! I was freaking out. (Ask the elders, they were getting antsy because I was so jittery.) I did not want to leave, AT ALL. Well.......DRUM ROLL PLEASE.........I'm staying in Shiprock!!! YAY me! I love it here, and I hate the idea of going to the city. I often wish I was an elder so I could stay on the reservation as long as I can. The only other place kinda res is Gallup. And even then its a city that touches res. Oh, I hope I don't leave Shiprock until after Christmas!!


This week's letter isn't very interesting. Sorry. Life isn't tremendously interesting. Oh, but fun fact: my zone leader hates my guts!! And I'm loving every minute of it!!!! :) I'm totally serious! He thinks he's something really special, and acts all high and mighty. (I compare him to turd bucket from high school). Most people just ignore him, but I wasn't going to let him make fun of me and walk all over me and my companion, so I call him out on stuff. I'm quick witted enough that I can get him speechless. Its fun.

Well, I love you all. Stay safe! Have a wonderful week!

Love, Sis Melinda Wilkins

Monday, October 24, 2011

THREE MONTHS!!

October 24, 2011 (email)

Good grief! Its been three months. It feels like no time at all, but also an ETERNITY!

This week was a normal missionary week, with one exception, WE HAD A BAPTISM! Aariyanna is 9 years old and comes from a less active family. She has taken amazing strides. The first few weeks we taught her I thought she would NEVER sit still or remember a single word we said. Well, the gospel changes people, even little children. Now she remembers everything, stays focused, and her reading has improved. It is so cool. We were a little worried about her and the Word of Wisdom. As we taught her about it she said, "We drink tea. I'll go get it to see if it is ok." It wasn't. She sat there CLUTCHING it, holding on for dear life. She did NOT want to give it up. After much discussion, she finally got it. We were worried she wouldn't keep it, but she totally surprised us. She has stayed completely devoted.


Another story: we had dinner with the elders outside our trailer a week ago and some dogs came by. Some one dumb fed them (NOT ME) and now they come back. They will sit at the door and cry. Here is a photo.
Here's another story, that I forgot last week! I was proposed to!!! By someone totally sober and serious!!! There is an "eternal investigator" at church who has taken a special liking to me. He asks to shake my hand, but then throws his arm around me. WEIRD. Not used to that. It wasn't a big deal, just awkward. Then last week he came up to me and told me how nice I looked with curled hair and then proceeded to tell me he thought I was a really nice person and that he liked my personality. HA. OK, thanks. Then he came up and said, "I probably shouldn't say this, but I would marry you if I could." I gave a nervous laugh and walked immediately to the elders. They thought it was funny until what happened next. I was trying to casually keep my distance, but HAD to walk by him. He waved me over. Oh drat, now what? He was sitting down and I bent over to talk to him. He grabbed both my hands and said, "Sis. Wilkins, can I marry you?" I YANKED my hands away. Smiled. "No. No you can not." and walked away. OH THE THINGS YOU SAY AS A MISSIONARY!! I nearly fell apart laughing. I was so blunt. HA!! It totally cracked me up. The elders did not find it so funny. E. Munns hardly left my side after that.

Oh yes, we have a new elder. Elder Wise. He may be half way through his mission, but the kid is just that...A KID. He'll do well in the area, but he proves himself to be a little boy sometimes. :)

Love you all!!
Sis. Wilkins

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tears in Shiprock

October 17, 2011 (email)

Tragedy keeps striking in Shiprock. Elder Munns is being transferred out to the middle of nowhere to help out another Elder. I've not been a happy camper. Official transfers are in 2 weeks, but I was joking with him that I thought he was going to be voted off the island then. He didn't like it, but his companion agreed with me. The next day he sent us a text saying I was right and he was being ET'ed (emergency transferred). I didn't believe him until he told me in person. I thought I had 2 weeks to prepare myself for my best friend leaving, but no, I had 2 days. If I thought Sis. Tsosie and I were good friends, it was nothing compared to me and Elder Munns. I've not been a happy camper. I don't know what its like in other missions, but when an elder leaves, his companion or roommates give him a tie. I didn't want to miss out on the fun, so I bought him a tie. I gave it to him last night, and he's wearing it today. I feel so special. :)

There were good things that happened this week. We had exchanges with one of the Sisters who goes home in 2 weeks. It was Sis. Wilkes!!! The girl who was my EFY roommate 5 years ago. IT was AWESOME! We took her to Red Valley and took pictures on the wall and by Shiprock.

She was going to take a photo of how dirty our truck got, and started backing up but fell into a HUGE mud pit. I nearly fell over laughing. I couldn't believe the sucking noises as her feet sunk in and pulled out of the mud.


Then I put a picture of the Elders at the Flea Market. It always starts out freezing cold (hence their super heavy jackets) but then gets so hot we are all dripping in sweat. The last picture is Elder Munns with his handy rope. He started roping things at our trailer while his companion (the district leader) takes numbers for the area on Sunday nights. He got the bright idea to try to rope my feet. We actually got pretty good. He has this fancy swinging stuff, I jump, and then I land in the center of the rope as he yanks it tight around my knees. I'm pretty proud of myself.

Well, it has been a normal, missionary week. And it will probably be a normal missionary week. My companion and I are starting to figure things out together. Finally :) We understand one another, talk more, and find something to laugh about every day. Things are really looking up.
I love you all! Stay safe. Please read the Book of Mormon EVERY DAY! (It is something we are challenging the ward to do every day. There is going to be a ward-wide competition to see who can read the most. Its going to be awesome! I can't wait for them to recognize the blessings that come from reading the Book of Mormom daily.)

Love, Sis. Wilkins

Monday, October 10, 2011

100th Annual Navajo Nation Shiprock Fair

October 10, 2011 (email)

It is over! PRAISE THE HEAVENS. It is over. The cars are gone. The drunks have gone home. We don't have to listen to them yelling or blowing kisses at us. The tempting food vendors are gone. Life is normal again. Hooray!




Well, last Monday we drove out to the actual Shiprock and climbed around. It was nuts! I drove the truck out on these CRAZY dirt roads for at least 5 miles of bumps, jolts, and flying. IT WAS AWESOME!! Then the Elders decided to really go exploring and we turned on the 4 wheel drive. WOOT. Fun, and scary at the same time. There were a couple times where I just stopped the truck, stuck my head out the window, and yelled. "NOPE!" I was not going to flip the Church's truck. not going to do it. We did lots of climbing and exploring on the actual Shiprock. We could only go so high because the walls were literally vertical. I sent a couple photos of that. Then we went exploring on the lava wall that extends out from Shiprock. That was way cool. There was one spot where it really looked like a person had built this retaining wall, but no..it was god. Then the entire thing was made of tiny slate pieces. WAY COOL!



On Wednesday we went out to Red Valley as always, but we had a service project to do. There is a bridge leading to a Less active's home and it keeps getting washed out. There is a giant hole that gets bigger and bigger with every rain. The guy said he wanted to pick up some river rocks and throw them in the hole, but there weren't any big enough around. We picked up some last week for him, but they weren't nearly enough. We told the Elders about it. MISTAKE. They showed up the night before we left with at least 300 pounds of rocks!!! They loaded up their truck while tracting. It was amazing. I couldn't believe my eyes. It took a while to load them into our truck and then to get them in the hole. But even then, we still didn't have enough to fill the hole. (that tells you how big this monster hole is)



Now, for the fair. CRAZY! A shanty town developed over night. HUNDREDS of road side vendors set up shop all along the highway. sometimes 3 deep. There were shacks and tents and converted truck beds everywhere. Imagine the sea of tents set up for the Quiditch world cup. Then on Saturday was the big parade. It shuts down the city completely. Visualize what University and Center St. look like for the 4th of July. Now do it Navajo style. Freezing cold outside. Fires in the streets. Fry-bread and tamales everywhere. Mismatched assortment of chairs and beds lining the streets. cars parked on the median and in the turning lanes. IT was ridiculous. We drove our trucks from our trailers to the other end of town at bishop's house (because we both had appointments on the north side of town at night, but we knew traffic would be at a stand still from lunch until midnight.). Then we walked the 4 miles back to the trailers. we walked the parade route all day, and then had to tromp back to the trucks at the end of the day. Holy cow. my hips and knees were not happy with me that day. We crossed paths with the Elders about dusk, and they got rather nervous about us walking with all the craziness and nastiness. Elder Munns leaned down and whispered, "Do you have a knife?" I giggled and shook my head. "We'll be fine. I have enough spunk to handle anything." He got a concerned look on his face and then handed me his really nice switch blade. It was kinda sweet. And I honestly felt better having it in my pocket all night.

Well, that was our week. It seems like ages ago already. I hope you are all safe and doing well. Keep looking for the miracles. They are there. Read the Book of Mormon every day, I beg of you. Say prayers with your family or roommates. Do your visiting and home teaching. They are all simple things, but they make all the difference in building Zion. I send my love to every one of you!

Love,
Sis. Wilkins

Monday, October 3, 2011

General Conference!!!

October 3, 2011 (email)

Hello, Hello, Hello!!!Add Image
So.... PROVO TEMPLE!!!!!!!! WWWWAAAAAAHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I can't sit still when I think about it!!! Totally stoked!!! And as for all the temples in Africa, I totally called it! (That was my guess from the beginning).

Conference is so cool as a missionary. Everything seems to have the utmost importance. I was glued to the screen for the entire time. I would look up and think, dang, that was a good 20 minutes but then look at the clock and see that it had been almost the entire session already! Was anyone else excited by the fact that the choir wore ORANGE ties on Saturday morning? (probably not...I'm the only person who would ever think about something as silly as that). And who doesn't love Pres. Monson! "Hello." HA! and how many times did he roll his eyes! he's such a cutie. I just want to hug him or walk around holding his hand. What a sweetheart! And then there was Sis. Dalton's talk! As if I didn't love her before! That was amazing. All you men take note, because she was exactly right.

Well, this week has been kinda wonky. The Shiprock Fair has started, and it takes over everything! Work slows down because you can't drive without lots of traffic and no one is home because they are out having fun. It also means we need to be inside by 7 because of all the drunks and messiness at night. It really wasn't that eventful. We keep running into less actives (i think its silly that the church has us call them that, because they are IN-ACTIVE. They don't come at all) who have been seriously offended by the core families of our ward. Who are those core families? People who's father has been the bishop over the past 30 years. Nobody likes anybody and it is seriously making me mad. I am not a person who takes offense, so I am really struggling to understand their views. I can't see why these people will let a thoughtless comment be the thing that separates them from ETERNAL SALVATION!! (Can you tell I have some intense opinions on the matter?)

As for Sis. Thomas, she and I are still in a rough place. We have NO chemistry. None. It's really making things tough. I don't like the lack of laughter. I love laughing, but...we don't laugh. It's tough. I'm looking for love in any way I can. Service is what I'm starting with. I look forward to the time when we can be a strong united force here in Shiprock. Here is what I know about her. She is from McHammon, Idaho (that's probably not how its spelled). It is a small town kinda near Pocatello. She has been out for 6 months, and has been in Durango, CO the whole time. She has 3 brothers and 1 sister. She is also the only non-red-head odd ball in her family. She went to school at UVU and did her pre-recs for nursing, but she might change it when she gets back. She likes to sleep...as in as soon as planning is over, she is in bed. It makes things kinda lonely at night, and there is no bonding time, but I do get to read the scriptures and ponder more. She likes being outdoors and playing sports, but she's not the sporty type. That's all I know. Not much. (What does that say about how much we talk?)

This last paragraph sounded really drab, but I am happy. I am serving the Lord. I am where he wants me. I am in a "foreign land." I have worthy priesthood holders nearby, who are dear friends. I have the spirit acting in my life. What more could I ask for? I love missionary service. It gives you a sense of belonging to an army of God.
Love,
Sis. Wilkins

the photos....
Elder Buynak pressed his face to the truck when it was clean. Then we drove all over town and red valley. The dust stuck, and then his face was with us every where we went. It was quite funny.
I wore my "Holland is my Hero" shirt during lunch on Sunday. Everybody loved it!!!!
P.S. Are you reading the Book of Mormon daily? Are you talking with Heavenly Father daily? Do it. That's all I tell people, every day. So please do it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2 Months (email)


September 26, 2011

This is new. Transfer number 2 shouldn't be a big deal. It was. I got my new Companion, Sis. Thomas. It was a rough day. Sis. Tsosie and I stuck together all morning, and we just clutched one another. Sis. Thomas was doing the same thing with her companion. You could tell there was a lot of love in each companionship, and we were both unsure of what this new experience would be like. We were nervous for good reason. We are so very different. I love her because she is a daughter of God, but I am working on loving her for all of her. I mentioned to the Elders how they were lucky that they were 2 peas in a pod. I mentioned that Sis. Thomas and I were from 2 separate gardens. Then they really shocked me with their profound response. They said, "You are owned by the same gardener, that should be all that matters." .....DANG!! Put me in my place. Thank Heavens for these inspired young men. That really changed my thinking. I know it will take work, but I seriously think we can have a very strong relationship. I know there is so much she can teach me, and I look forward to those lessons.


On another note, there are photos of all the great things that happened this week. We took photos with the Elders at a graffiti wall. It is a pretty building, and low and behold, it has CTR on it. We don't know if it stands for the same thing that we associated it with, but we like it none the less. Then there are photos of our baptisms from Saturday. Branden and Sage Foster, who are the studliest little kids I have ever met. I absolutely adore them. Then Deanndra, whose mother and sister were baptized last year, and have recently started coming back. IT was an amazing service.

Then there was the Relief Society Broadcast. LOVE IT!!!! I cried the whole thing through. I'm such a goober. I can't wait for General Conference. It is going to be the highlight of the transfer! Please pray for the leaders who are going to speak to us, and pray that you receive personal revelation that will help improve your life. IT is amazing what prayer can do. I am just starting to realize its implications. This morning I thought I was praying for only a couple of minutes, but after I really poured out my heart I realized that it had been 15. I love talking with my Father in Heaven. Sometimes its all I can do to keep from breaking down in frustration.

How I miss you all! I really do. I think about you daily, and you are in my prayers. Please stay strong. Please do the little things....they really make all the difference. Oh, and enjoy the nice northern weather and color changes, it still looks like death and brown here (and I think it always will).

LOVE YOU,

Sis. Wilkins

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Surprise (email)

September 19, 2011

We had a nasty surprise on Saturday night. We stopped by the Elder's trailer to drop something off, and while we were there, they got transfer news call from the zone leaders. We stood by and listened to the muffled voice. Sis. Tsosie's name was mentioned first...transferred to Gallup, NM. We looked at one another and didn't say a word. We used our eyes to communicate: WWHHHAATTTTT?????? Did he just say that? No. ...yes. This is not real....What do we do? Crud.

She leaves tomorrow morning. We are not happy about it. I seriously felt like we had known each other all our lives. She was such a dear friend, and I hardly knew her. The last 6 weeks have felt like maybe 1 or 2. Her new companion is Sis. Kost (MY MTC COMPANION!). I am going to get Sis. Thomas. We don't know a single thing about her. We'll see what happens, but I already know I need to act quickly to make her comfortable with me and Shiprock. Shiprock is the roughest and dirtiest area for sisters, and it definitely has shocking qualities. Oh, and I get to drive the truck now! Woot! So excited.

This week was normal. Personal Study. Companion study. Lessons with investigators. Knocking on doors. Driving a ton. We had one baptism on Saturday. Seneca Frazier. He is 10, and his family recently moved back to Shiprock and became active. Elder Munns was absolutely tickled to do the baptism (it was his first time performing a living baptism ordinance). And I think I look down-right tan. Yes everyone, it is possible, I am TAN!! Can you believe it? I still look terribly white compared to all the Navajos, but I am chocolate brown compared to my family.


Sis. Tsosie and I drove half way out to Shiprock (the actual rock) this week. We took lots of silly photos, but they are all on her camera. I'll print them out and send them to you. There was a crazy storm brewing as we took photos, and the lighting on Shiprock is stunning. I also wanted to show you this rock formation. Does is look like a man made wall? YES. Is it? Not at all. Shiprock is a volcanic rock formation, and coming out the backside is this 10 mile long wall. It rises probably 6-8 stories out of the ground. In some parts it is only 6 feet thick, but it is never thicker than 10 feet. It is the coolest thing. I think Shiprock looks like a mighty demon fortress rising out of death itself. Then the wall guards the dismal kingdom behind. (I might have a fanciful imagination, but at least I can keep myself entertained.)




I love you all! Talk to you next week!

Love, Sis. Wilkins