Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 31, 2012 (email)

Hello Everyone!

Happy New Year!! I'm sure all of you have really fun plans for this evening..."but as for me and my house"...we are serving the Lord and all of our days are alike. Holidays really don't mean much. I have 2 poppers left from a package mom and dad sent me last year, and we will use those...and that will be the excitement of our New Years. woot...

Coming home at the end of this transfer didn't seem real until I talked to everyone on Skype last week. I was in denial that it was actually happening, until I was told all of the plans when I get home. Its a weird mental place to be in, because I am excited for all of the new experiences, but I am LOVING MY LIFE RIGHT NOW!!!! I love being in Blanding with Sister Maynez!

Oh, did I get to tell you that is my new companion? I can't remember. I am training sister Edith Maynez. Born in Mazatlan, Mexico and raised in the United States. She is INCREDIBLE. I adore her....plus it helps that she is a great missionary, and the most beautiful sister missionary I have ever seen! I love working with her. We are both really upset that I am only here for 7 weeks. But she is excited, because she is going to inherit a TON of my stuff, because I don't need it when I go home.

These last 2 weeks have been totally crazy and disorganized. We got to town and had absolutely NOTHING to work with. When we finally got some teaching records, they were not organized in any way, shape or form, and the information on those few sheets, was very scant (and in chicken scratch). It took forever and a day to get things put together. We were bustling around constantly that we didn't even have time to think about Christmas. We didn't really register that we should slow down and really think about the meaning of Christmas.

We had 3 dinners planned for Christmas Eve. We were mostly thinking about trying to eat all of the food. We are very tiny girls, and we didn't want to offend any of them. We got through the first dinner, and we were glad to get out...it was a quiet and slightly awkward extended family dinner. Sister Maynez leaned over and said: "Are all white families like this? I don' think I can handle 2 more of these tonight. My family is Latin! We are loud, and this is sooo boring."

I just giggled and promised her that there are loud white people....(that was the 3rd dinner). We made our way to house number 2, the Pehrson's. Sister Pehrson had planned to invite one of the investigator families over to eat with her young family...but they couldn't come, so it was us, her family with 5 young children, and her parents. We thought it was just going to be any other dinner, but it actually changed our lives.

Her home was not a castle, you could tell children lived there, and the Christmas tree had lost some its magic from the children removing all the ornaments but the 3 on the very top. And yet her home was the ABSOLUTE BEST PLACE TO BE ON CHRISTMAS EVE!!! because she created the perfect evening. It was a simple dinner: soup and bread, but it was homemade and delicious. Not too heavy but very healthy and filling. The dinner conversation was really pleasant and happy. Sister Pehrson reminded me soooooo much of Maddy McHale Walker. I could have listened to Sister P all night.

The life changing moment came after dinner. Sister P gathered all of her cute red headed children into the family room. She sat on the floor with a baby crawling all over her. Us adults sat on the couches that had been obviously loved and played on. Sister P began to read her children the story of the nativity. The book she had was the Luke 2 words, but the paintings were done by the LDS artist Joseph Brickey (He has the painting of Joseph guiding the donkey, with Mary looking at the shepherd boy who is tending his sheep along the path). She paraphrased the story because she knew her children would not be able to hold still. As she read, some of the children sat still, while others be-bopped around. She would ask the moving child a question and they would pause, step closer, answer sweetly and correctly, and then sit at her feet.

The room was filled to the brim with the Spirit. It was the most tender and beautiful Christmas Eve I have EVER experienced. It was the perfect Christmas eve. Here was a righteous mother in Zion, who actively teaches her children the gospel. And she taught the way the Savior would: with love and patience. Her children had testimonies and they knew of their mother's love. That was a home where the spirit resides. It was the best experience I have ever had. I was moved to tears as I observed and watched and treasured the moment.

anyways...
Yesterday we had to give 2 talks. One 20 minutes long in a ward we DON'T serve in...and another 10 minute talk in the one we live in. We were totally pooped. The coolest moment of the day was when Brother and Sister Brown from Encinitas/Olivenhein walked in with their daughter who lives in our ward! SOO COOL.

Wow, that was a really long email.

I love you! got to go!
Sister Wilkins

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Here is my simplified year in photos!
Left top to right: Sister Isaacson, Sister Kesler, Sister Nay, Sister Rowley, Shiprock, and Sister Patrick.
Love, Sister Wilkins

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

BIGGGGGG NNEEWWWSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 17, 2012 (email)

Um, really big things are happening here!!!! ahhhhhhhhhh

We got transfer news on Saturday...and I was shocked. President did not let me know before hand, and he usually hints or flat out tells us with something big.... I AM BEING TRANSFERRED TO BLANDING, UTAH!!!!! I am going to open the area to sister missionaries, and ......I AM GOING TO TRAIN AGAIN!!!!!! what?!?!?!?!? I am going to be in a YSA and a family ward!!! CRAZY!!! I have to pack up everything, twice...back to back....and because I don't know what she will have or need, I have to bring it ALLLLLLLLL. I can't just throw it away now or leave it for someone here, but instead carry all that junk to Utah, and then deal with it there. I thought I wanted to stay in Farmington, but this new assignment is so fantastic! I had a wish list of things I wanted to do before my mission ended, and this fulfills all of them! I wanted to serve in all 4 states, open an area, serve in a singles ward, and to train one last time. Wow. (I guess I should be careful what I wish for.)

Actually, getting what I asked for is what I really wanted to talk about today. Before I was put with Sister Nay for the second time, I was praying to know what else Heavenly Father had for me to learn before I finished, and I really wanted a closer connection to Christ. I had a lot of little things/characteristics I was asking Him about, and I hoped that I would live up to His expectations. When I was put with Sister Nay, I thought, "Well, this is just another trial and I will have to grit my teeth and get through it."

I had that mentality until this last week. We had a spat and it was not fun. I had to tell her that I was getting too frustrated to act and think appropriately, so I went to bed to pray and think and compromise in the morning.

The morning came, and I thought that I was being really Christlike and I was compromising really well, but when I presented my ideas to her, it totally flopped. Here I was being humble and submissive and it wasn't good enough.... (so I thought) ... But then she said something that clicked, and everything changed. At this point I can't tell you what it was, or what all of my questions were concerning, but I finally gave up my will and let the Spirit take charge. I took a HUGE step back and then saw the obvious right in front of me.

I realized that SHE was the answer to my prayers. She was not a trial, but in fact the perfect answer and the perfect way for me to learn what I had been asking about. I thought Heavenly Father was delaying my answer, but in reality, He gave it to me right away. Oh, I have been so hard and so blind. I can't believe that it took me this long to figure things out.

I wanted to work harder and tract better, and she has done exactly that. She has pushed me to work harder than any companion ever has. She has opened my eyes to new ways of doing things. At first I whined and complained and kicked against the pricks, but then I started to understand what she was trying to teach me. You know how much I don't like change, but she helped me to see that my way is NOT the only way (Here I was trying to teach her that, but I was wrong the entire time). This last week we worked our selves into the ground. Our average number of lessons, was around 18. the mission standard to aim for was 20...and this week we did 33!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY COW!!!!!! Plus, we have quadrupled our investigator pool, and it we had TONS of people at church! holy smokes!

Last night we had a white elephant gift exchange with the Gish Family. They are incredible, and they have adopted me as either another daughter or granddaughter. There is a joke in their family about what their granddaughter Tosha's first kiss over the alter will look like...and its a terrible cross eyed, fish lips thing. They were so proud of their unique idea, and then were tickled when I had a similar ability for awkward faces...for the last 3 months, when ever I go over, Tosha and I have to make the faces. Well, for the gift exchange, someone found UGLY kissing fish...so Tosha and I HAD to have them. So...tada!!! SSSOOOO UGLY!!! and so wonderful!!



I love you all so very much. I probably won't email next week, so MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I hope you have the most incredible year. This is the year that I finally understand and treasure  Christ at Christmas, instead of just enjoying the holiday. 

Love, Sister Wilkins

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BBRRRRrrrrrrr!!!!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012, (email)

I am FROZEN. It is rotten cold. OK, so its still in the 30s but that is as cold as I want to go. Yesterday we got a whopping 1/2 inch of snow. It hardly stuck to the ground, but it was snow none the less. We were studying, and I looked out the window and had to dart out the front door to run in it.
On Tuesday, after emailing you, Sister Nay started to feel kinda crummy. Her stomach bothered her and at dinner, she just sipped her water. We went to our first home that night, and knocked on the door. The guy walked out, and Sister Nay said, "Excuse me," and she walked away. "Sister Nay? Sister Nay?" I rescheduled with the man, and walked around the corner. The poor thing was busy being sick in the dirt and shrubs...so we canceled everything for the night and went home. I felt bad that she was so miserable  but I was thankful for the opportunity to catch up on my extremely long to-do list.

On Wednesday we met with Leonard. I taught him in Shiprock. Actually, he was the very first appointment that I went to on my first day there. I love Leonard. There is something very special about his spirit. I feel connected to him on so many levels. When I was in Shiprock,  discovered something cool with him. We would read the Book of Mormon outside because he was a single man, every single appointment. He was on probation, and was waiting to be baptized. He is still waiting, but he is incredible. We sat and read again this week. Whenever I read with Leonard, the scriptures become alive for me. I feel like I am transported there and that everything is happening right around me. It doesn't happen with anyone else, but I love that experience.

On Thursday we had a Zone Training Meeting, which is pretty much a glorified district meeting where the entire zone is there. Elder Huff, has been serving in Toadalina for a few transfers, and has become a good friend. He is an incredible missionary, and is soo focused and put together. You know he will be a great leader someday. Well, in this mission there is the tradition of passing down ties from Elder to Elder...In all of my areas, there have been good friends that I have given ties to...but NO ONE HAS EVER GIVEN ME ONE BACK (I know I'm a girl, and don't wear them, but Sister Tsosie and Sister Thomas ALWAYS got ties in return, and I never did)...well, Elder Huff gave me a tie. Hooray. I know its not a big deal for you, but for me that is huge!

The day got better because at lunch, the lady at KFC (our regular Thursday, post-meeting-food-place) remembered my order! That has never happened to me! I have never been regular enough at a place for people to remember me. Dang. It was just a good day. 

We spent all day Saturday finding new investigators  it was a long day, but very rewarding, At the end of this week, we found 7 new people to teach, and that is the most I have ever gotten in a week. Sister Nay may be a pain to live with, but she is the best tracter and finder I have ever been with.

I love you all! I'm sorry there aren't any photos to send, I don't take many pictures with Sister Nay.

Sister Wilkins

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Temples and Pillows

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 (email)

My letter is a day late, because we went to the Monticello Temple yesterday. It was the absolutely BEST day I have had in a LONG time!!! I got to sit by Sister Patrick and Sister Isaacson and then they sandwiched me on the couch in the celestial room and we all held hands as we cried and prayed silently. We had one handkerchief (that Grandma Hardy gave me for my birthday) that we passed back and forth between the 3 of us so we wouldn't have to get up. I had some serious questions to ask Heavenly Father, and He answered EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM! Oh, it was fantastic. I definitely needed that to deal with the craziness and stress that is my life now with Sister Nay.
Speaking of Sister Nay, she has made incredible changes since the last time we were together...and this transfer is not one of oppression or depression like last time....but it still isn't totally fun. We do laugh more now, and I have learned how to show her love in a way that she will recognize. 

Oh, in the subject line, I mentioned pillows...there will not be a mission-wide Christmas gathering this year, so yesterday became our celebration (non of us knew that until after it was practically over). The mission office gave us some little gifts....and one of them was a travel pillow made out of a Blue Corn Flour sack..that is the MOST USED FLOUR IN ALL OF NEW MEXICO...and the only flour that Navajo's will use to make fry bread. Us missionaries have gotten pretty creative about how to use those bags to make cool things for ourselves. I LOVE MY PILLOW!!!!!! So fun!!!

I feel like there isn't much to tell you....I just keep trucking on, and taking it day by day. Time was previously going at light's speed, but now it is crawling....oh well. We have been doing a lot of tracting and it gets easier and easier every day. (Thank heavens.) 

Well, I'm totally clueless on what else to say...sooooo....

I LOVE YOU!!!!!
Sister Wilkins

Monday, November 26, 2012

pie and more pie

Monday, November 26, 2012 (email)

I was so proud of myself because I had kept my figure looking soooo nice for so long....I don't think it will work out that way. I have had SOOOOOO MMUUCCHH PPIIEE!!!!! And I LIKE it!!! I have tried lots of different kinds, and I don't mind trying more. Just call me the pie queen from now on.
On Wednesday night we were invited to Pie Night at the Eagars...that family that I want to grow up to be like. Sister Eager and her mom made 12 pies that day, and 2 of them being my family's recipes: avocado and oatmeal! Avocado was definitely the hit of the night. Everyone was really curious about it, and you could tell they were nervous, but they all devoured it....it was the only one completely gone. 
 

Thursday we had to go to Walmart to do our shopping....they were prepping for black Friday stuff. HOLY COW!! that is crazy. I am NOT going black Friday shopping. Nope. Not happening.

We went to the Gish's house for Thanksgiving day. They are another favorite family here. They are just like my real family, and I feel totally comfortable there. Sister Gish talks about me like I am her daughter or granddaughter  and their granddaughter is planning on driving me around town in her revamped VW bug when its finished. This family has also invited us over for Christmas day, and I couldn't be happier about it. I sat and crocheted while Sister Nay helped cook. (I didn't want to be another body in their tiny kitchen). We ate, and laughed, and played Uno, and walked around the neighborhood  and looked through all the black friday adds. (They are big shoppers)

Saturday we spent the ENTIRE day finding people to teach. I was pretty nervous about it, but Sister Nay assured me in the end I would enjoy it. It wasn't that bad. We did find a lot, and it was a highly productive day. The only bummer from the day was heartbreak at the Richman home. I wont disclose any details because its really personal for them, but I ask that you keep that entire family in your prayers. 

We visited with a couple different member families this week, who just made my day. They were telling me about the joy and light that I have brought to their lives. My heart melted. It made me feel like I was actually making a difference. Thank you to Nancy Wood and the Landry Family (especially Miguel, who is 3 years old and has a form of autism. He wants to marry me)

I hope you all have a terrific week!!
We are going to the Monticello Temple Next Monday as a mission, so I probably wont write until Tuesday. I'm sooooo excited!

Love,
Sister Wilkins

Monday, November 19, 2012

Jennifer's Baptism

Monday, November 19, 2012 (email)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

SO I have this terribly long list of things to email, but no time to do it. We will probably be kicked off the computers soon, and we are being given special permission to email today. Our pday was moved to Thursday...which I am SOOOO excited for.

Last Monday I was at the copy store, and this girl darts in the front door and throws her arms around me and starts crying. It was Nitra from Shiprock!!!! She saw me walk in an came darting after me. She and I were the dearest of friends and connected really well. But I wasn't really able to say goodbye when I left and I haven't heard from her since. I gave her my info and we were just sooo happy for that little moment. Thank heavens for tender mercies.

I got a blessing from the Toadalina and Shiprock Elders on Monday too. It was the sweetest experience. They have become good friends with Sister Isaacson and I and it was so kind of them to help me out before I got with Sister Nay again. There is something to be said about being surrounded by that much power and love. 

Sister Nay is really good at tracting...which is such a blessing because all of our investigators either moved or we dropped them. We need to overhaul our teaching pool now. We have been working hard...which is good. Because when we are teaching I hardly have time to get irritated or feel like I'm being talked down to. It is only at the end of the night that I feel crummy...but I have been working on smiling constantly, focusing on the positive, and listening to Christmas music. This Christmas is going to mean so much more to me, because I feel like I can connect to the Savior, His love, and His sacrifice more than I ever could thus far in my life.

I had an interview with president and was able to ask my questions. He said he woke up at 3 am one morning, and the spirit told him who all the sister companionships should be in a dream...so he wrote them down and did not question the logic. Ok, that is a good enough answer for me. He doesn't know how long we will be together, but I will just take it one week at a time...which is ok because the pattern is holiday, nothing, temple trip, nothing, transfers, holiday, holiday, freak out because I go home in a handful of weeks. yup. I'll make it :)

We had a less active member make us some chili this week, and it was the kind that burned your bum on the way out. It was soooo hot that I literally had to gasp for air after. They said this particular batch was only at a 6, but usually it is around a 9 or 10. holy crap. I have finally become a New Mexican, because I LOVE green chili on EVERYTHING!!! But I haven't burned my taste buds off yet. And I don't plan on it. I think I will have to make a yearly trek back to New Mexico so I can buy fresh green chili to use in all my cooking throughout the year.

Jennifer's baptism was incredible. The ward said it was on of the greatest baptisms they have ever had. Sister Isaacson was able to come, and she and I stood beside the font holding the towel, clutching each other and crying as Jennifer was baptized. We loved every minute of it. Jennifer shared her simple but extremely powerful testimony and had everyone in the room emotional. When she was confirmed on Sunday she was promised so really powerful things. She is so cute. When everyone said hello and congrats later, she just exclaimed: "This is the greatest Church EVER!!!"
 

I realized something big. When I love people, I feel complete. When I get rushed and Sister Nay is more concerned with the number of people we see, and I don't get to focus on the individual and their needs, then I feel incomplete. I realized that my duty in life will be a visiting teacher for the masses....and I'm ok with that because it makes me feel really good to do it.

I had to play piano for district meeting...which is bad because I am NOT good. The worst part was, my only chance to practice at Ronda's was when her famous son in law, Sheldon Pickering, the concert pianist with CDs world wide, was there to hear me mess up left and right. I was sooooo self conscious  But I promised him that I would take lessons again when I get home. 

Well, my fingers are dead from typing so fast. I'm sorry to my family members who didn't get long responses because of this email. I love you all!!!

Love,
Sister Wilkins

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Just rip it off like a bandaid ELDER!!!!!!"

Monday, November 12, 2012 (email)

Um, transfer news came in....We about fell over.

We have tried not to mention the "T Word" at all, because we didn't want to psych ourselves out. Since I have been in Farmington for 6 Months, and only have 3 left, we were sure I was leaving. Either me going to Bloomfield to help Sister Patrick (because she is really struggling) or going to Flagstaff. We were preparing people for the news, and told them we thought I would leave, but didn't know for sure....

The news normally comes in at 9pm...but we didn't get a call until 9:45.
"So nice of you to FINALLY call us."
"Actually, you are the first ones I called....I was going to make you last...but I was so shocked and I knew you wouldn't like it, so..."
"What is it Elder?"
"I mean, this is really surprising, and wow. Just wow."
"Elder what is the news?!?!"
"I hope you don't freak-"
"ELDER! JUST RIP IT OFF LIKE A BAND AID! ELDER!!!!!!"

He then word vomited REALLY quick: "Sister Isaacson is going to Bloomfield to be with Sister Patrick, and Sister Nay is coming here with Sister Wilkins."

Silence on our end.

"See, I told you, you wouldn't like it."
"Wow Elder. Wow."
"Ya, I know."
"Okaaayyy then. Um. Thanks. Have a good night."
"Yaaaah, you guys too. Well..um...ya. You too."

SISTER NAY. AGAIN.
Do you know enough about me and Sister Nay? Maybe not. When I was together with her the first time, I candy coated how bad it was because I didn't want to complain to you all....It was BAD. It was, for lack of a better word, an abusive relationship. It was just ugly. It wore me down into someone almost unrecognizable. When Sister Kesler saw me for the first time after leaving Cortez, she was shocked at who she saw. I wasn't my bubbly self. I wasn't happy. I wasn't me. Sister Isaacson has healed me and brought be back to myself...but this next transfer makes me nervous. It is only 5 weeks long because Christmas day hit right on transfers, so they are moving it up a week....but I don't know what will happen for the 7 week transfer, but I won't allow myself to go there mentally. I will take it one day at a time. The Lord obviously needs me to do it again, and he trusts me. He knows there is a lesson I didn't learn the first time...so now I am at his mercy.

For the last few months, I have been focusing on the phrase, "Not my will, but Thine be done." and this next transfer is a perfect example of that. It was reiterated yesterday at church when we sang the hymn with that title. I will truly miss Sister Isaacson with my whole heart, but I know the Lord needs her to help other people. She healed my broken heart with laughter and love, and hopefully she can do the same for Sister Patrick.

I will change the subject. Jennifer had her baptismal interview last night, and it went INCREDIBLE!!! She is soooooo prepared and ready. I have never met a person so guided by the hand of the Lord. She has been softened and changed and you would never recognize the woman she used to be.

Last Monday at Four Corners National Monument, we had a BLAST! (Literally: the wind was blowing sooo hard that we had a difficult time keeping our skirts down.) We had our lesson, with 5-10 minutes in each state: New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. As we were closing up the lesson, I had the thought: "Well, there are hardly any people here, and no one is taking pictures....It is kinda tacky, but how often do you get the opportunity to pray in 4 states at once? Ya, I'll ask if they want to pray on the center plate."

So I asked, and they all LOVED the idea, so we jumped up in the wind and put our toes on the center plate. I was about to offer to say the closing prayer, because I didn't want Jennifer to be nervous, but before I could open my mouth, she was praying!!! We thought it was great...but we didn't realize how big of a deal that was to her until we were driving home. For Jennifer, that was a moment where she was not ashamed. She was proud to become a Latter Day Saint. She wanted to show the world that this was her decision, and she was going to stick to it. (I felt silly, because I just wanted to pray in 4 states, but for her this was  a MAJOR testimony moment). We had a fantastic time.
 

Another photo is of what we came out of church to yesterday: Someone had Cheese Whizzed all of our door handles. Seriously? We have the worst luck with our Chitty.

 
Then there is a photo of us and the Behrens/Begay family. We tried soo hard to gt us all in the photo, with me reaching my arm out in front of us. There is Barbara and Woody, with Aviana, Alicia (Aleesia), and Elijah. We love them. Aviana is the only baptized member, but we are working on the rest of the family. They are sooo sweet.

 
The last picture is of us and the Eagar Girls, Abigail and Jane. They are the family that we did the mustaches with last time. We went by to say goodbye yesterday, and the little girls brought out the whipped cream again. this time was way more fun, because the little girls put the cream on us, and then us on them. We just laughed and laughed.
 

Oh, the last bit of big news, President gave Sister Isaacson permission to come to Jennifer's baptism on Saturday!! We are soooo excited. 

I love you all!!!

Have a fantastic week!!
Love,
Sister Wilkins

Monday, November 5, 2012

Our Eternal Life - Video

Monday, October 29, 2012 (email)
 Please put this on my blog!!! This is awesome!!! I just found it on LDS.org. LOVE IT!!!!!

Candy, Weddings, and Baptisms

Monday, November 5, 2012 (email)

Well, this week was a TOTAL blur!! Halloween feels like it was 2 whole weeks ago...but I'm pretty sure it was only a handful of days back.

On Tuesday we had an INCREDIBLE lesson with Jennifer. We had Sister Gladden from the ward come with us...just because she was the only person whose schedule would allow her to come...and then it was PERFECT!!!!!! Jennifer has been going to the Addiction Recovery Program to help her stop drinking Alcohol...and Sister Gladden has had a ton of experience with that program helping her extended family. She had the PERFECT insight and connected well with Jennifer. On Thursday we had another Sister, Sister Landrum, come with us, and AGAIN we had a miracle strike. Sister Landrum just fell into our lap, and then she was the right person for the job. Jennifer has changed soooo much. I have watched her heart be softened, changed, and empowered. She went from not being interested, to liking the lessons, to loving the messages, to loving changing, and to loving being a part of a bigger family. She is soooooo great!!!! 

Wednesday was Halloween, and it was tough. We didn't have much to do, but we didn't feel it was right to go tracting on Halloween. People would probably open the door because they would expect kids, but we didn't think they would believe we were real missionaries, or that they would even take us serious. We met with a couple less active families to fill the time. At dinner we had ham and pineapple and green chili pizza...and it was THE BEST!!!!! That is my new favorite pizza. I never thought I would love green chili (especially when I hated it as a kid at Grandma and Grandpa Wilkins') but now I can't imagine a world without green chili! 

I included pictures of our pumpkins that we painted on Halloween night. Mine are the 3 little ones. I knew my plan from the get go. I spent FOREVER taping all of those pumpkins, and then painting meticulously....but when I pulled the tape off, half of the paint came off with it....and I ended up free handing the rest of it. Sister Isaacson just started painting her bulbous and ugly pumpkin...fretted over it, and then just went with it. At the end of the night we laughed, because our pumpkins totally match our personalities. I try to plan it all out, and everything has its place...while she frets for a while and then just jumps head first. My plan usually gets messed up and I have to jimmy rig something...but it turns out ok in the end. She just sees what happens, and it still turns out great. (I think her way is a lot less stressful than mine, but I can't seem to figure out how to let things go.)



Friday was Donny and Melissa's Wedding (Hal Richman's grandson). Melissa had me come over and do her makeup before the wedding...which was really fun and I was really proud of myself. It looked fantastic. I included a photo of the 3 of us...I apologize for it not being the most modest picture, but it was the best one we got. We had such a wonderful time a the wedding...probably because we were laughing so hard. That was the most random wedding EVER. Bishop was awkward. The group of people there were a mismatched sort. The bride and groom were soooooo fidgety that we thought they would pass out when Bishop said he would give them some tips on married life, and then said it was from his 20 point collection. 20 Point!!!!!!! Oye. We just had a ball. What we didn't realize was that Sister Isaason's wallet was stolen during the ordeal. not fun. I've been there. I know how miserable that can be. At least now I know what to do to help her.

Saturday was a day of baptisms. But none of them were ours. We were asked to help with 2 of the other ward's baptisms.....because she can play piano, and I am really good at waving my arm around and pretending to know what I'm doing. Jennifer came to one, and she had the BEST time. She testified to us about the power of the priesthood and she was sooo moved by it all. She won't let anything get in her way. When we do our lessons with her, we try to be ourselves, but on our best behavior....well.....this weekend we were able to be more of our silly selves with her, and she ate it up. We were all giggles after the baptism as she was trying to say goodbye. We were talking about 4 Corners and how far it was....and then Jennifer yelled, "CAN WE HAVE A LESSON AT FOUR CORNERS?" Well....if we get permission, and you drive us!....So we got permission, and today we are road tripping to 4 Corners to have a lesson in 4 different states!!! Love it!!!

I love you all!!! Have a fantastic week!!!!
Sister Wilkins

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halo, Happy Ween!

Monday, October 29, 2012 (email)

Happy Halloween everyone!!!

There is so much to say, that I wrote it all out in bullet form before hand....

So first off, Melanie, Dorothy's niece, who was preparing to be baptized in January, went off the deep end and was sent to Jail...so that baptism is postponed....a lot. drat. She was doing so well after moving into Dorothy's home, but then she got involved with her old friends and extended family and things went sour. Dorothy was pretty heart broken over it. We are too. But we just have to carry on.

On Wednesday night we were put in charge of the YM/YW Mutual Activity. The YM leader wanted the kids to have a tracting experience. He had them all come in church clothes and bring their scriptures. They came to the opening exercises room, and had a missionary badge with their name on it put on their chest, and then they were escorted into the MTC. Elders on one side, Sisters on the other.  Sister Isaacson and I pretended to be their MTC instructors. When everyone was in the room, we had an opening song and prayer, but we skipped all the normal announcements and started talking to them as if they had just entered the real MTC. We had them all recite the Missionary Purpose and then started discussing why they are called to serve and how critical this work is. Then we put them into companionships and had them go tracting in the corridor  They were to knock every door and talk to every person. There were ward missionaries and youth leaders behind some of the doors, and they had an assigned personality/routine. The kids got to experience all sorts of people: kind but busy, grouchy, talking through the door, crazy families, random pedestrians, and a hidden Golden investigator. IT was such a neat experience. There were 2 grand moments. The first was the first companionship to start knocking. It was a priest and a deacon, and they got to an old lady who was grouchy and would only talk to them through the door. The lady tried to get them to go away, and the 12 year old yelled "CAN I AT LEAST TELL YOU MY TESTIMONY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?" the poor kid was muffled through the door and his voice cracked a ton as he yelled, but then he proceeded to tell her anyways. Oh, it made us laugh and smile. The second experience is more serious and tender. I was testifying to the kids about how critical it is to share salvation with all of our brothers and sisters, and I shocked myself with how passionately I felt. I was crying as I testified and taught and tried to help them see that this is not just an experience to check off the list, but this is a sacred opportunity to bring Heavenly Father's children to the Celestial Realm. 

We met with Sarah Combs this week, after having challenging her rather boldly last week to be baptized. We were excited to see what her answer would be after a week of praying about it. She said one night she had a peace wash over her as she prayed, and felt really good about the whole thing, but then the next day went ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE. She thought the terrible day was a sign from the universe that she was not ready...but we jumped on that immediately. Heck no! That miserable day was from Satan, and we helped point out her answer. After a really powerful lesson, she said she wanted to be baptized and we would prepare for baptism soon. We were stoked. No date was set, but she is getting ready. She wants her less active husband to do it, but there are some complications....and we still need to work out the details.

There is a photo included here of me wearing a veil and holding a wedding bouquet. This week Melissa and Donny, Hal Richman's grandson and girlfriend, are getting married, and they had me come over to do the flowers. Oh, I was soooooo excited. Melissa had bought a veil, but was too shy to put it on, and you all know me, I LOVE weddings, so I volunteered to be the model. What do you think? :) Don't worry, I know a veil like that is not for me :)

Jennifer McDonald is doing great. She has a baptismal date of Nov. 17, which is the week after transfers, so I will probably miss it, but so far she is doing well. She has a Word of Wisdom issue, but she is actively working through it. She had a blessing on Sunday to help her through it. Please pray that she is able to fight the temptations that come her way and that she will be able to be baptized as planned.

We have a member family that we ABSOLUTELY ADORE, the Eagar Family. They are the cutest thing. They moved in recently, and he was put in as YM President  They have the most adorable home and the kids are to die for. I don't think I have ever seen a happier bunch of children. Their family is full of love and purity and it feel fantastic to be in their home. They are HUGE fans of the Piano guys, and always have their music playing when we are there (which is at least every other week). I LOVE THE PIANO GUYS!! I knew them before m mission, but they have really taken off recently, and I highly recommend them to everyone!! I can't wait to buy their CD!!! LOVE IT!!!! oh, and the photo of us with the whipped cream mustaches is at their house. they do it with their kids all the time, and we have watched the children multiple times die with laughter as they try to lick it all off. they finally invited us to do it to, and it was great, my mustache wasn't so good because I kept thrashing and laughing as Sister Isaacson tried to put it on me.

I also include a photo of a pin that an investigator showed me. It is totally me. The minute Sister Isaacson and I saw it we nearly fell out of our chairs laughing. Just to defend myself, I am working on NOT trying to control every aspect of my life and roll with the punches. 

We had a ward Halloween party on Saturday, and we had SOOO MANY INVESTIGATORS AND LESS ACTIVE FAMILIES COME!!! It was incredible!! There is a photo of my favorite activity booth. It it a GIANT Witch nose, and the kids had to put their arm up one of the nostrils to get either a treat or snot. Sister Isaacson did it and she got snot. LOVE IT!!!!

The last picture was of Camden Castelli. He is Ronda's grandson. He is the cutest thing. Well, Sister Isaacson and I had fun putting her glasses on him, and this is what happened: one happy and cute kid.

Well, I love you all very much! have a fantastic week! please remember to pray for Jennifer and Sarah!
Love
Sister Wilkins

Monday, October 22, 2012

me and my chitty

Monday, October 22, 2012 (email)

Hello Family and Friends!!
 
Sister Isaacson and I discovered something terribly scary this week: She has been out as long as I have left. AAHHHH!!!!!! WHAT THE HECK!!!?????!!!!!??? That is not a fun thing to think about. This is my life. This is what I love doing! This is not supposed to end! When I have to go home, I have to do hard things! I have to start thinking about me! I have to date again! I have to look for eternal blessings....holy crap that is scary business!!! UGH. "Not happy Bob. Not happy." (Name that movie.......Incredibles)
 
We had a member of the 70, Paul V. Johnson, come and to a Zone Conference on Tuesday, and it was AWESOME!!! He had some exciting news. He started asking us what we thought would happen to our mission directly because of the age change....
"More Missionaries?"
"Yup. You need to be opening new area president....But what about the MTC? What do you think will happen there?"
"Will they build more?"
"No. That is not in the plans. What else could happen?"
"The missionaries will stay less time?"
"You hit it there. Starting January 2012, Missionaries will only stay at the MTC for 2 weeks." 
A hush and then a buzz went across the room. We all knew what that meant....Training in the field would be more intense and more critical. Then we started discussing the 12 week training program that was introduced to the world wide mission force the week I entered the field. It was a preparatory step the Lord put in place to make sure that the current missionaries could be ready to train the newer and younger missionaries. It is  so cool to see how the Lord is hastening His work, and how everything comes together. SOOOO COOOOOLLL!!!!!
 
I sent a blurry photo of me and Sister Isaacson in "surgery mode". We went to visit Hal Richman this week, but he had gone to the hospital. His blood pressure was 40 over 30!!! I'm not trained in the medical world, but I know that is pretty bad. His wife asked us to visit him in the hospital, but to go inside, we had to put on the smocks and gloves. The photo is blurry because Hal took it........and we tried twice, but both came out like this.....but you get the picture.
 
 
 
I also sent a photo of me and Sister Isaacson, just playing around with the camera this morning....but then I also sent one of the two of us with pink fuzzy mustaches. THANK YOU ASHLEE BARROW!!! She knows me sooo well...so we had a photo shoot this morning. 
 
 
The last photo is probably of no consequence for any of you, but for me it was big. I was driving the car in Shiprock when it hit 20,000 miles. When that happened, I drove around in a parking lot in circles, because there were no other cars and I knew I could stare at the odometer and never lift my eyes to pay attention to other things (I didn't want to miss the change)....Well, This week I was driving and I watched it change to 30,000 miles. WAHOO!! I know you don't care, but I have a really close relationship with that truck. 9 Months is a LONG time with a mission vehicle. For the longest time, I debated contacting the mission after I had been home, so I could purchase it and just keep it after it hit the 50,000 mile mission limit......BUT....after what happened this week, I changed my mind. I have had a handful of problems with that beloved truck, but this week I finally hit the limit. It wouldn't start. It was late. We were trying to get home for curfew, and it wouldn't turn over. Not fun. I love Larry (that's what I named him) but I won't purchase him now. I don't want to deal with any more problems. 



But I did have a neat experience yesterday at church, that connects with the truck. We were there early, and there was a woman sitting in the back with her children long before the meeting started. Something in me registered her face, but I didn't know why. Sister Isaacson and I went up to talk to her, and it was the first time she had been to church in 15 years. Well, its not that I had seen her there. She lived on the edge of Farmington. Nope...that's outside our ward boundaries. She is a police officer...DING DING DING DING!!!!!! Then my mind flashed a dozen images. I could see her in her officer's uniform. Then I saw her put her hand on her holster. In that memory I realized she was standing in a lit room. Wait, it was the Shiprock Trailer living room. SHE WAS THE POLICE OFFICER WHO TOOK THE REPORT ON OUR STOLEN TRUCK LAST DECEMBER!!!!!!! I got all sorts of excited, and then word vomited it all at her. (Ashlee, do you remember when we went to the dollar theater, and I couldn't figure out who the ticket guy was..but then realized he was the coordinator at the baptistery in Provo.....it felt like that)
 
Sunday was a big day. We got a call LATE Saturday night asking us to speak in the morning. Ok, fine, but only because we love you. We were going to speak on temples....Life got crazy though when almost EVERYONE we work with was at church!!! Then the mission president and his wife walked in, and everything had a whole new level of importance. We had investigators and less actives coming out the wazoo. It felt really good to have them all there, but it made me slightly frazzled.
 
We have been meeting with Oscar Keeling, and his wife Bonnie for a long time. He is less active because he got mad at a bishop 15 years ago. His wife is not a member. He is just a sweet old grandpa. He came yesterday and was telling some ward members that he was there just because of the sweet sister missionaries. He kept saying how much we had convinced him...I cut him off: "Excuse me! We were just in the right place at the right time! You talked yourself into coming. I never mentioned anything. All I do is smile!" He responded, "Oh, but a girl as cute and sweet as you could smile and make the whole world do whatever you want." OH!!!! So cute!!!! Thanks Brother Keeling.
 
Brother Keeling and his wife are teaching us how to crochet...and we are getting pretty good. We had dinner with them on Saturday night, and we were about to leave, and they said, "We think you girls deserve a gift for all of your hard work." WHAT? Then they pulled out 2 large bags of crochet supplies. They had tons of yarn and goodies. It was soooo sweet of them. But now we have to figure out what to do with all of it! Its not like we can cart it all around! Oye. We will figure it out.
 
Well, I love you!!!! I miss you!! Have a wonderful week!
 
Love,
Sister Wilkins

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Following Promptings

Monday, October 15, 2012 (email)

Sister Isaacson and I have started to pay really close attention to the mini promptings that we receive. We don't want to ignore a single one of them. We have seen marvelous things happen when we listen. We were on our way to visit the Davis family Monday night...we didn't have an appointment, but we were going to give it a shot. I got a prompting to visit the Behern family and tried to categorize it as a drifted thought, not a prompting. When the mother's name kept repeating over and over in my head, I finally told Sister Isaacson. She said she wasn't feeling anything, so we continued on to the Davis'. When we were almost there, she threw her arm across the car and grabbed me. "We have to go to the Behrens. NOW" I whipped the truck around, and we were there pretty darn quick :) We found the family in a really tight spot, because of their alcoholic dad. We were able to have a tremendously powerful lesson, and got out before the drunk dad came home. Sister Isaacson then had the firm impression to visit the ward mission leader and tell him about it all. We did, and it was an incredible experience. We realized the intensity of the situation for the children. Dad will probably go to jail soon, and if he is drinking around mom, then she will go to jail too, because she's on probation. The ward mission leader was talking to us about what to do with the children if the worst happened. He was just talking about where they would go, and said to us, "Well, if we can, then we will adopt them." He wasn't joking. Totally serious. His wife was on the couch with him, and her head popped up, but then she nodded. THEY TOTALLY MEANT IT!!!! (They have raised 12 children and are grandparents now, with their youngest kids in high school. They should be done. BUT THEY ARE WILLING TO ADOPT a 5, 7, and 11 year old. Wow.) I love the ward mission leader. He is as close to a dad as I can get. I keep telling him that when I come back to visit, I will give him the best hug ever.
Yesterday we had Jennifer come to church, and she LOVED IT!!! (She is the investigator we watched general conference with). She is so ready. She always seems kinda shocked when we present something new, but after we answer her questions, she seems to accept it openly and completely. She wants to be baptized, and we are so excited for her. We want to help her develop a stronger testimony of Joseph Smith before we set a date, but we are really excited for her. After watching conference, she told us that it just felt good and right and true. OH!!! That is exactly what we love to hear.

Also, for the last few weeks, every time there is an option to sing a hymn, #243 Let Us All Press On, has been on the agenda. EVERY TIME!!! At first Sister Isaacson and I were laughing about its occurrence. Then we tried to really learn the alto part, which was hard, but then this last time I realized someone was trying to send me a message. OK!! I GET THE PICTURE!!!!! So I started studying the words and the scripture references, and it hasn't popped up since. 

Sister Isaacson told me something cool the other day. She said when she was at BYU-Idaho, her professor had to go to Salt Lake to be on a committee. When he came back he told everyone that the church was planning on changing the scripture mastery...WHICH NEVER HAPPENS and it was going to correlate with Preach My Gospel more. Well, now she knows why. The brethren are trying to prepare the youth better and earlier for missionary service. COOL!!!! 

I am out of time, but I love you all very much!

Have a fantastic week!

Love, 
Sister Wilkins

Monday, October 8, 2012

:) HIGH PITCHED SCREAM!!!!!!! :)

Monday, October 8, 2012 (email)

SOOOOOO!!!!!!! HHHOOOORRRAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!! Sisters can serve at 19!!!! WHAT THE HECK!!!!!!!! We were FREAKING OUT!!!!!!!! NO WAY!!!!! I'm sure the internet and singles wards are all abuzz. At first I thought, "Oh man, this is going to get tricky! Sisters and Elders the same age!!! Ohhhh, bad plan...." But then I started to mellow out and think...This is the best thing that could happen for the future families of the church! Let me explain. Now there are going to be soooo many more sister missionaries, which will not only result in more converts, but the women of the church will become stronger in general. The girls who always wanted to serve, but got married instead...will almost be a thing of the past. I am just thinking out loud, and I'm not talking for everyone, but how many girls are truly prepared to be married at 19? Not many. I certainly wasn't. Serving a mission has been the greatest thing to happen to my life and my spiritual/emotional maturity. I feel so much better prepared to handle life and my future as a mother because I did get to serve a mission. There are a lot of really incredible women, who did not need to serve missions, because they were incredible already. I was not one of those really mature and incredible women, so I needed to serve to refine me. ...My thoughts are all over the place, and I don't want my inability to articulate them to get me in trouble, so I will just stop there. My final words: I am glad that more sisters will get the opportunity to serve.
And because I am a missionary, I obviously LOVED Elder Nelson's talk. I thought it was GREAT! We had an investigator by our side, and she kept looking over in shock as he listed all the things we do. "Do you really do all of that?" YUP!!! Every day! And we love it!!! 

We tried to be really tricky with our conference plans this weekend, and it TOTALLY WORKED OUT!!! We have been planning extensively for weeks about who our investigators and less active families would watch conference with (plus the when's and where's). It was great! So many of them got to experience the blessing on conference, and we were able to be involved with their experience. 

Saturday morning we went to Jennifer McDonald's to watch it. She is our investigator who loves to read the Book of Mormon. She had gone out of town and hadn't been able to meet with us to preface the conference. She didn't know what she was getting herself into and what to expect...and she was quite nervous. But when we walked in the door, she had 3 platters of snacks out and was ready to go. She LOVED THE SESSION!! She thought it was fantastic! She enjoyed it so much, she invited us to come back Sunday Morning as well. (Big bummer, solar flares stopped the satellite feed, so we missed the first half of Dieter's talk!)

Saturday Afternoon, we went to watch it will Hal Richman and his family. He is the less active guy we have been working with forEVER who finally came last week. He and his wife were TOTALLY GLUED to the TV, and thought it was fantastic! We had such a terrific discussion afterwords. 

Sunday morning, we walked in Jennifer's door, and she had gotten all dressed up in a skirt and was wearing all kinds of makeup and jewelry..which is a big deal because she is a farm girl/tom-boy type. She had the snacks out again, and had prepared questions for her life and had a notebook and everything! Again we had the first half of the last speaker's talk, Monson, cut off, (but that was okay.) We discussed afterwards and she talked about how inspired she was to change. At first she didn't want to give up anything, but she recognized that her heart was softened, and she felt the task was doable, one step at a time. Oh yay!!!!.....Oh and HOLLAND IS MY HERO!!!!! I LOVED HIS TALK!! (big surprise)

Sunday Afternoon we went to the Stake Center to meet all the people who had promised to come to that session. We had a pretty good turn out. And it was just good. :)

This week we learned how to crochet...at least the beginner stuff. We are going to a part member family's home to have the non member mom teach us today. We are really excited.

There was a crazy thing that happened this thursday! Okay, it was probably pretty normal, but to me it was a big deal. We pulled into home, and Sister Isaacson opened her car door to have smoke come in. She flipped, "Get out of the car! Get out of the car!" So then I flipped "Get your stuff! Get your stuff! And then call Elder James." Since my mind is crazy anyways, I think we are getting close to an explosion or something. Sister Isaacson cracks me up, because when she calls the vehicle coordinator, she takes the time to say: "I have a story to tell you. Once upon a time there were two sister missionaries....there was smoke, and they didn't know what to do....the end!" WHAHH??? There is SMOKE BILLOWING out of the engine, and fluid gushing from the underbelly, and you are telling a story?!?!?!?! He instructed her to open the hood and figure it out...and I;m thinking, "Are you CRAZY!?!?!?! Smoke means flames! Flames mean Fire. You DONT OPEN THE HOOD!!! CAUSE THAT MEANS A BIGGER FIRE....which means BOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!!! (explosion)" but, I listened to my instructions and risked losing my eyebrows, arm-hair, and life, by opening the hood. ....Nothing as dramatic as I expected happened. :) ....The radiator hose popped off and fluid went EVERYWHERE. So, now we have a loaner truck while that one is getting fixed.

On Tuesday we had a first ever sisters only conference. I sent a picture of all our shoes at the mission home...I thought it was cool. It was great, I had a lot of my personal struggles addressed, and I felt so uplifted. At the conference, my rug that I had custom made out in Toadalina was delivered to me! LOVE IT!!!! That thing is worth $300-$400, and I got it for $150. WOW. LOVE IT!!


Hope you all have a fantastic week!

Love you
Sister Wilkins

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012 (email)


I get to stay!!!! WOOOOOTTTTT!!!! We are so excited!!! Words cannot describe how happy we are! And big news, Sister Patrick and Sister Nay are going to be companions....I'm kinda anxious to see how that all turns out. I think it has the potential to be extremely helpful for both of them. ...

Last week I forgot to tell you about HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS!!!!!!! (I think) YOU NEED TO TRY THEM!!! EVERY ONE OF YOU!!!! I am not normally one for marshmallows, but these were to die for!! They were so fresh and spongy and perfect!!! Just look it up!!!

More heartbreak and things that I forgot to tell you: We had a fantastic lesson with Wood Begay last week (he is the dad of one of our favorite families). He and the mom, Barbara hadn't gotten married in the last 12 years, because he was an alcoholic and was terrible when drunk. She wanted her family together, but not when he was terrible. For the last 2 months, since we had been meeting with them, he had totally changed his life around and had sobered up. But then on Friday night he started drinking again. He fessed up to us, and we had an incredible lesson on the Atonement and repentance. He was so open and vulnerable, and the spirit was there so strong. He opened up about all of the miserable and terrible things that had happened to him, that led him to drink. The poor guy has never had anyone ever believe in him, and so he doesn't think he is worth anything. He has been belittled and put down for so long, that he thinks he is destined to be unhappy, in jail, and to die young. I had a completely new understanding of the Atonement after talking to him. I wanted to take away all his pain. All of it. I was willing to suffer, so he didn't have to. But then I also knew that even if I did suffer, he would still have to do something about it all to make it applicable. It was so cool to have first hand experience of the tiniest bit of what Christ felt.

Then we also had a FANTASTIC Tuesday, because we set a Baptismal Date with Melanie James, Dorothy Pinto's granddaughter who is living with them. We were so excited, and so was she....BUT....then we found out that Melanie is on Probation, which means that she can't be baptized yet...for another YEAR!!!! AHHHH!! :( Ooohhhhh....we still have to tell her, and I'm not looking forward to it! Ah. pray for us!

I included a photo of Sister Isaacson and I from last week with our matching shirts. We thought we were soooo stinkin' cute!


Then there is a photo of the awesome sky we have here! I think you should all be jealous!






And a photo of me holding a dead dragon fly. I LOVE dragon flies, but it was really creepy looking dead. I was really proud of myself for touching it.


Finally, there is a picture of a quote from an old pioneer journal. We found it when we went to the Family History Library with Dorothy... It was a book on the saints who settled the Ramah area...and for all of you non-Wilkins readers, Ramah is where my pioneer ancestors settled. The quote cracked me up as well as inspired me from their courage and determination.




Yesterday we had a TOTALLY FANTASTIC SACRAMENT MEETING!! Why? Because we had 2 less active families that we work with come. Neither have come in 10 years, and they were both there on the same day!!! Hal and Connie Richman came, and we see them EVERY WEEK. Hal is always the talkative one, and Connie would just deal with us being there. Then Connie started to open up...and yesterday when Hal and Connie were there, we expected Hall to be much more excited...NOPE!! It was CONNIE!!! She was beaming from head to toe! And smiling like there is no tomorrow! Then Oscar Keeling came, and he has been a toughie! because he was offended by a past bishop. He just showed up, without us ever really pushing him! AWESOME!! Everyone just took him under their wings and took him everywhere. He was grinning and jolly and fantastic! Oh yay!!!!

I hope you have a terrific week!!!

Love you lots!

Love, Sister Wilkins

Monday, September 24, 2012

Surprise Visitors

Monday, September 24, 2012 (email)

We had 2 surprise visitors this week. One being very small, and the other...not so small. We thought we had caught all of the mice in our house, because Ronda had traps all throughout the house, and none of them had caught anything in 2 months...but then she freaked out when there were 2 dead mice in the kitchen in one day! We were quite surprised when they told us at the end of the day, and then walked down our hallway...SCREAM!!! There was another one dead in our room! 3 IN ONE DAY!! (Then last night as we were trying to fall asleep, we heard little scratching noise...crap. There is another one.)
The other visitor....also unexpected....was much more pleasant to be around. We came in for the night on Saturday, and headed down the hallway towards our office. I opened the door, and saw a post it note on my chair. From across the room I recognized the tiny handwriting. ...WHAT?!?!?!?!? THAT IS SISTER KESLER'S HANDWRITING!!!!! I walked up to it...yup...she was there! Wow!! I was kinda excited, but realized she must have stopped by to see Ronda, and then went on her merry way. I walked into our room, and set down my stuff. My eyes caught my side table. That is not my Costa Vida cup. Mine was a different color...it is still cold. She was here. then I looked at the bed. SHE LAID ON MY BED TOO! AND MESSED WITH THE PILLOWS. ...She is still here. I know it! She will walk down this hallway in a second. I told Sister Isaacson to hold still for a moment. Then the floor creaked. I leaned backward and poked my head out the door....There was a long dark arm sticking out of the laundry room. "I CAN SEE YOU!!!!" I ran down the hallway and gave her a giant hug! She came for a baptism in her old area, and planned with Ronda to stay there for the night. Cool!

We had a great week of lessons. They were really powerful and we are making such great progress with Gerry and Clifftine, Jennifer, and Sarah. We love them SOOO much.

We are kinda short on time, so I will explain the photos. The first one is me peeling a green chili. It has been chili roasting season, and all of the families here are buying HUGE boxes of Hatch Green Chili, roasting them, letting them sweat in plastic bags, and then peeling off the burnt skins. I have wanted to help in this process for weeks!!! But no one would let us help. Well, we finally got to do it! You wear 2 layers of rubber gloves so it doesn't burn your hands. It was long and slow, but now my life is practically complete.
 

The other photo is of Sister Isaacson's hair. This was my first attempt at doing a waterfall braid, and I think I did a pretty darn good job. We decided to be twins today. We have the same hair style (not to mention the exact same hair color...we compared this morning), same necklace and bracelet, and we will wear the same shirt at games this afternoon.

The last photo is our "Daily Doodle" of Wednesday. I have had knee pain for a year now, but I didn't think it was a big deal, until my knees were constantly swollen and the pain wouldn't stop. I went to the doctor a couple weeks ago, and they decided to send me to a specialist. I went to the Orthopedic doctor's this week. They took X-rays and did an exam. I have tendinitis, and its not too bad. They gave me anti-inflammatory medicine and told me to deal with it until I come home. If it gets worse after my mission, then I should be concerned....but I'm not concerned at all. The medicine is working, and I feel good. Its not a big deal. And now I am a happy camper.

 
I hope you all have a terrific week. We sure will. Lots is happening in the next week or two. Transfer news is this Saturday, so cross your fingers for us! And then the Relief Society broadcast, and then next weekend is GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!! WAHOOO!!!! Please pray for the speakers this week!

Love you all!
Sister Wilkins

Monday, September 17, 2012

...um...my brain is fried...I can't come up with anything clever

Monday, September 17, 2012 (email)

Hi everybody. If for some reason some of my words are spelled wrong, its because this keyboard is not nice to me. In particular the "Y". Most of my words are missing a "y" or I have to go back and type it in again. Sorry in advance.
On Monday, we ran all over town doing errands, but we got everything done! We couldn't believe it!!!

Tuesday  we be-bopped everywhere again, and it was our most productive day. We had some good lessons and good visits with families we had not been able to contact in a while. The most fun thing that we did was a lesson with Dylan and Blair. We wanted to focus on scripture stories, but not have it be too intimidating and lesson like, because they would both walk out and shluff us off if we made it too stiff. They have a pretty good background with some of the stories from the Gospel Art Book, so someone started describing a picture/story, and everyone else would have to draw it. When their picture started to look familiar, they would yell out what the scripture story was and then tell the rest of us how it went. They really enjoyed it. I can take no credit for the good idea, it was all the Spirit.

Wednesday is when everything started falling apart. We had a fantastic Plan of Salvation lesson with Jennifer, the super excited Book Of Mormon reader who wants to learn everything. She is awesome. Sister Isaacson is doing so great with teaching. We had her take over and do most of the teaching, and she is a total natural. But then EVERYTHING CANCELED!!! Everything. The day looked really full and it went to nothing. We became so discouraged,because nothing we tried resulted in anything. We were so distraught, that we sat in the car and said a prayer for encouragement. Mid-prayer the heavens opened and started a DOWNPOUR!!!! Sister Isaacson had to yell to finish the prayer. We spit out Amen, and then burst into laughter. "OK Heavenly Father! We get it! Just laugh about it and move on!"

Oh, Wednesday night we had dinner with the Eager family, and it was the BEST DINNER ALL WEEK!!!!! They made Honey Lime Enchiladas. Mom and Ashlee Barrow, do you hear this? GO AND FIND THE RECIPE FOR HONEY LIME ENCHILADAS!!!!! Those are the best enchiladas I have ever had!! You will love them!!! Plus, they are in love with the Piano Guys!! and they had some of the classical stuff in the background! HOLY COW!!! I NEED THAT MUSIC!!! SOOOO WONDERFUL!!! Its so uplifting and so beautiful. 

So, Thursday was supposed to be really good and full...and district meeting was...but the rest of the day went a lot like Wednesday. At district meeting we had been asked to study the atonement, and prepare a 5 minute talk in case we get picked to give it....I got picked, but the spirit prompted me to change it all right at the last minute. I thought it was for someone else in the room, but when I was the only one bawling during it, I realized I was the one the lesson was changed for. We also had a cool activity that I had read about before, but never experienced first hand. The district leader brought donuts, but if we were going to get one, his companion would have to do 10 pushups for us. "Would you like a donut?" yes "Elder, Gaukner, will you do 10 push ups so they can have a donut?" Then he would do it. "Do you want a donut?" No. "Elder Gaukner, will you do 10 pushups for the donut that they don't want?" and then he would do it. It got hard to watch Elder Gaukner struggle, because towards the end it looked agonizing. The poor guy was struggling so much. Even though I understood the principle of the lesson from reading about it a while ago, it was so much more powerful in person.

Thursday was a crappy day, but it ended with lots of screaming. We were driving home and ran into a FREAK hail storm. It was so instantaneous and so powerful, that we could not see out of the window. Our wipers were going as fast as they could, and the defrost was going full blast, but it was not helping. There was no light outside and all we could see was the continuous blur of splattered hail on the glass. It was nasty. I have never driven in such bad weather. But we made it home, crawling at 5 miles and hour. 
 

Saturday night was stake conference, and we got to go because we had investigators and recent converts coming. It was FANTASTIC!!! I have never gone to an adult session because I always had to work in college. Its the Saturday night, without the kids where the deep doctrine and fun stuff is! We were in awe the entire time. I had 4 pages of notes from one 20 min talk!! Yayyy!!!! We are so focused on the simple teachings that we never get very deep stuff...so it was AWESOME to get to sink our teeth into some really intense stuff.

Well, that was my week. now my fingers hurt from all the typing. I'm sorry for the lack of "Y"s in this. Love you lots! (Oh, and the "e" has trouble too!)

Love,
Sister Wilkins

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Did you know that Praying Mantis pop when you step on them?

Monday, September 10, 2012 (email)

I walked out the front door this morning, with full hands and heard a pop under my shoe. "Whoooop? What was that pop?" And Sister Isaacson and I turned around and saw the smooshed praying mantis on the ground. Wow. Didn't know that happened.

So, I don't want anyone's panties getting in a wad over this next story. I am totally fine, and it was a freak incident, not a common occurrence in the area. OK...deep breath. On Wednesday night we had an appointment with DeAnndra and we parked our car down the street from her house. We did the lesson and then got picked up so we could all go to mutual together (we want to help her make friends.) After Mutual, we got dropped back off at her house and we walked down the hill to the truck. when we got there, our front driver's side window had been bashed out!!! SERIOUSLY???!!!!?????!!!!! Yup. But, the coolest thing was this time when there was car drama, I didn't freak out. I knew exactly what to do, and I was totally calm. I did what had to be done, and didn't worry. We  made it home and got there safe, but there was a ton of glass. It looks like they hit it with a bat and then drove off. They didn't take a thing, they didn't beat anything else up, no rotten note. I broke the rest of the glass out of the window so it wouldn't cut my face and arms while I drove home. 



 Well, drama over, so next story. Last Sunday we had an awesome moment. Aviana Behrens, who is the 11 year old member daughter of 2 investigators from the rez (did you follow that?) wanted to bear her testimony at sacrament meeting. But she was sooooo nervous because her rez branch only had 20 people max, and our ward has hundreds. So I told her that I would go first and then she could follow. It didn't work at first. She just sat on the stand instead of getting up. It took a lot of coaxing, and silent prayers on both of our parts...but eventually she agreed to get up if I would whisper what to say in her ear. So eventually we did...but then she sat back down on the stand. So I sat next to her again. "What is it honey?" "I want to do it again, but this time by myself."...so a couple of people later, she got up again and did it! Oh, it was so simple and so beautiful. She was so proud of herself when she was done. I probably looked like a really proud mama when we walked down to our seats. Then the man to get up after her said some of the sweetest things ever...about me!!!!! He said how much he enjoyed Aviana's testimony, but how wonderful it would be if we all had sweet angels speaking into our ears telling us what to say, and then we would have gained the courage to get up and say it. WOW! He called me a sweet angel! :)

Last Monday we went to Bollack's Museum here in Farmington. He owns everything, and was a big game hunter all his life. He has a personal collection of all the things he shot and stuffed....and he lets the public come and see them for free. It was pretty cool to see a giraffe, elephant, polar bear, tiger, and shark in the middle of dirty Farmington, New Mexico. It was really interesting. There was one alligator from Africa that had been a real pain to a local tribe, so they had him come shoot it. When they opened the GIANT thing up (like 25 ft!!!) there were human remains, and some really nice jewelry in the stomach cavity. Woah!


We are also teaching Jennifer McDonald, who has totally leaped forward this week. She originally didn't want to meet with us often, but then she started in on the Book of Mormon, and has fallen in love with it. Now she wants us to come over a lot more. YAY! But she still has a hard time with the ye's and thou's and the timing...so she asked if there was a CD. HECK YES!!! She said she would go out and buy it immediately, because she has a long road trip coming up soon, and she would love to listen to it the entire time!! Hooray!!

We live with Ronda, and she is awesome! She is so funny, and we get to talk to her almost every night before bed. Usually she is the mom and helps us work through personal struggles or talk our investigator woes. BUT...the other night, I was able to help her. She has been reading the Book of Mormon again, and for the life of her she can't keep the authors and family members straight. She just grumbles because she is in her 50s and has read the Book of Mormon a dozen times, but she still needs help. so I sat with her and drew out a Character map of who is who, when they were alive, who wrote what book, and when it all happened. SHE LOVES IT!!! and I feel so good for being able to do it!

And last of all, the other day we had a lesson with Sarah Combs. She has met with missionaries many times over the last 10 years, and already knows all the material, so it is hard to teach her something new. I was praying and praying about what to teach, and then it all clicked! We did a lesson on The Family: A Proclamation to the World, and it was an INCREDIBLE  lesson. WOW! Prayer works, prayer works!!!

I kinda really enjoy my life. kinda a lot. My companion makes me want to explode with happiness every day! EVERY DAY!! LOVE HER!!!!

And, I LOVE all of you!

Love, Sister Wilkins

Monday, September 3, 2012

Loving Life

Monday, September 3, 2012 (email)


So, Sister Isaacson and I are more similar than we thought...We both have tye-die pj shirts, we both love to put our hair in buns on the tops of our heads, and we both love the heck out of each other!

We met with Gerald Llewellyn this week (did I mention him last week?) and had a FANTASTIC lesson. We found out how quickly he wanted to get baptized, and then we had to find out if he had problems with the Word of Wisdom or the Law of Chastity....I knew I had to take the lead, because Sister Isaacson wouldn't have a clue. I went through the Word of Wisdom stuff...and he paused for a minute, but then smiled and totally committed whole heartily to follow it...but then came the tough stuff. Lots of missionaries will skirt around Law of Chastity stuff, because they get embarrassed..but I knew if he wanted to do the baptism quick, I needed to know some details quick. He has a fiance who moved to town this week, and I had to be really blunt about how intimate he would be with her. He said the wedding was planned for December, and I asked some blunt questions....and he responded, "Well, I want to be baptized really bad, so the wedding with HAVE TO BE moved up. I'll see how quickly we can do it." I was shocked. This guy is determined, and he wants this baptism so bad!!! I am so excited to work with him. He and his fiance came to church yesterday, and we were so happy for them. At one point he asked us if his baptism was important to us. I almost slapped him! I was kinda hurt! WELL YES YOUR BAPTISM IS IMPORTANT TO US!!! EVERY BAPTISM IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE!!!!!! He was so touched that we cared that much. He said he had never met anyone who had cared that much about him, besides his family, and then he paused, "No, who has cared about me MORE than my family." Wow. This guy is awesome! We just adore him!

I tried Greek food for the first time this week...It is NOT for me! I liked it...for about the first 10 minutes! Then it was just too overwhelming! Oye. Sister Isaacson got a sandwich that was soooo big, that we have been eating it for 3 days now. WE, not her, WE!!

We started teaching Dorothy's niece Melanie this week. She just moved in with Dorothy. We met with the family twice, and Melanie was so quiet we were worried that she would never open up. BUT!! She read a good handful of chapters from the Book of Mormon herself, and then came to church yesterday!!! Actually, we were really shocked when the whole family came. Dorothy just had surgery, Dylan hasn't come since he was baptized 6+ months ago, and Blair doesn't like coming. There was one draw back, we had so many people at church yesterday, and they were all spread out in different classes during the 2nd hour, that we couldn't be with all of them! Blair had a miserable time, even though we were by her side and trying to help. I'm not sure what to do to help her. We were shocked to see her there, and hoped now she could make huge strides forwards....but now she had jumped waaaaaayyyyy back because she hated it so much. Ugh. This is going to be rough trying to do damage control.

On Saturday we did something I have never done before...we spent 5 hours tracting! (I have done 3 hours solid, but never 5) that is a lot. We were pretty tuckered out...but we both had the spiritual witness to be there. We found one old man, who we thought would be receptive, but as we talked on his doorstep, he began to argue more and more. He was convinced that we worshiped Joseph Smith and that he was the head of our church. It didn't matter how we worded it, or how many times we said we believed in Christ, and worshiped Christ, he wouldn't have it. We were becoming progressively stressed, because we didn't want to argue, but he wouldn't let the conversation end. We stayed extremely friendly and positive, but Sister Isaacson and I were sweating bullets. I have never been so pushed about my testimony of Joseph Smith and the Savior. And yet, I have never had a stronger testimony of the two. The man (Otis Davis) kept stepping closer and closer, hoping to get me to back down or renounce, or "lose" the argument, but I never moved. My shoulders were squared, my face was calm and friendly, and I testified of what I knew. I looked straight into his eyes, and told him of the First Vision and would not drop his gaze. I would not show weakness or distress, because my testimony empowers me. I KNOW JOSEPH SAW HEAVENLY FATHER AND JESUS CHRIST. I KNOW JOSEPH WAS A PROPHET OF GOD and no matter what this man said, I would not deny that knowledge.

It was such an incredible experience. I can't say I have had to defend my religion that way before...But it felt incredible to know that when opposition came, I was not afraid to stand up boldly for what I believe in. I felt like a real missionary, one with power and authority from God. Every week at district meeting we recite a quote from Bruce. R. McConkie called My Commission. It says: I am called of God. My authority is above that of kings of the earth. By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of Jesus Christ. He is my master, and He has chosen me to represent Him. To stand in His place, to say and do what He would say and do if He were personally ministering unto the very people whom He has sent me. My voice is His voice. My acts are His acts. My words are His words. My doctrine is His doctrine. My commission is to do what He wants done, to say what He wants said, to be a living modern witness in word and deed of the divinity of His great and marvelous latter day work. How great is my calling!!

I echo those words today! I am called of God. My authority is above kings of the Earth! How great is my calling!!! Wow, It is amazing to realize that I am a servant of the Lord, and nothing can tempt me to deny my faith. I love this work!

Sister Wilkins