Monday, June 25, 2012


Monday, June 25, 2012 (email)

To all of you who have been young missionaries, you already know this...but to those of you who are unaware: sometimes a more experienced missionary is asked to "babysit" a younger missionary for a while. That was my luck this week...

On Tuesday we had a pretty good day, with a good number of lessons taught, and things accomplished.

Wednesday we had nothing scheduled, but we felt really good about filling up our time and getting things done. We were not as lucky as we thought we would be. We went tracting for 3 hours in close to 100 degree weather...and had a grand total of 4 doors open. Not 4 lessons or good experiences....ONLY 4 DOORS OPENED!!!!! But we were very proud of ourselves because we kept extremely positive amidst the whole thing. The worst part of the day was when I thought Sister Patrick would pass out from heat exhaustion. She doesn't sweat much, so she has a really hard time regulating body temperature. There was one point where I just told her we were done, and I wanted her to keep walking forward towards the car. just go slow and don't do anything but plod along. I then ran all the way up the hill to the car (she could see me the whole time,) got it going, cooled off, and then came down to get her. We sat there with cold air blowing on her until we could get her back to a slightly normal shade of pink (which was kinda hard to do when she was INCREDIBLY sunburned) but I am very proud to report that I have not had a serious sunburn yet (at least while serving in Farmington.)

Thursday was a CRAZY day. we had a mini zone conference in the morning to say goodbye to President and Sister Jones. It was the most spiritual meeting I have been to since I started serving. President wanted to give us some final counsel, as if we were in our final interviews with him...and it was great. It was nothing I hadn't heard before, but the spirit was so strong and it felt like a channel to the heavens had been opened up to all of us. I was a boob and cried through the opening song...but I will use the excuse that President's teary face set me off. Then during the closing song, Sister Jones ran from her seat in the back into the arms of President and they just held each other and sobbed while the rest of us tried to sing. After Sister Jones made it to the front, and we saw the extreme pain on her face, the room was no longer filled with strong missionaries, but a bunch of crying babies. It's amazing that any music came from us at all. When the closing song was over, someone started God Be With You Till We Meet Again...which is normally a song I can't stand...but in this instance it was PERFECT! We had interviews with President one last time, which was great, because he was able to answer some of my deepest questions about missionary work, and how the Lord views my offering.

But right after interviews, we had to hit the road and fly down towards Gallup so that we could do an exchange with the sisters there. They were having some troubles and needed a break. Sister Patrick would serve in Gallup for 2 days (with a sister she was sure hated her guts) and I would be with the greenie here in Farmington....aka I was on babysitting duty. We worked from Thursday afternoon until Saturday afternoon with our new companions. My babysitting experience helped me to recognize the changes that have occurred in me and how silly I was when I came out. I know, I know, I'm still really silly...but I'm not as bad as I was. I was so thankful to have Sister Patrick back, because she and I get along so well, and we push each other to be better, and she helps me to think on a much deeper and more spiritual level. She helps me to see the world in a more realistic and yet spiritual way. I feel so good when she is around to help guide my thoughts and ponderings.

On Thursday when we made the switch, we met in Toadalina!! WOOT!! I have officially been there. Cool. Then on Saturday we switched in Sheep Springs. On the way home, Sister Patrick and I went via Shiprock, and were able to pull over and take some photos there. Loved it!!!

Saturday night we were able to make it back in time to go to the going away party for President and Sister Jones. It was nice...but we really didn't want to leave because it meant that this was actually over. don't have much left to tell...

Love, Sister Wilkins

 Me and Sister Patrick and President and Sister Jones

Me and Sister Patrick at Shiprock
and us again on a very windy day.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tan Arms and Fire Arms

Monday, June 18, 2012 (email)

No, I have not had someone point a gun at me. Nor have I touched one since being on a mission...but I'm getting tired of random people telling us we should have them. We were tracting the other day, and these two older men were telling us to carry them because we were short single women. Oh bah humbug!!! Sisters have served in this area for YEARS!!! It is safe. We are fine. Sister Patrick was raised in the inner city: which means she knows gangs and their if she see's anything to worry about, then we leave. I have pepper spray that a member gave me in Shiprock....we are fine. I wish people would stop telling us how helpless we are. WE HAVE THE SPIRIT WITH US FOR HEAVENS' SAKES!!!!!!! He will tell us to leave if we are in danger. ugha moogah.

This last week was FANTASTIC!! I got the letters and gifts from everyone Monday afternoon..perfect timing for a Tuesday birthday. Thank you for all the love and care. You helped remind me that there are people who care for me and keep me in their prayers. On my birthday, members took us out to dinner...not knowing it was my big day. They took us to a 50's diner, called The Blue Moon Diner. They must have been inspired...holy cow it was perfect for me!! Plus the members invited another member friend from the ward...These two women had been friends for over 30 years, and listening to them talk and tell stories and laugh, was like listening to dad and his siblings tell stories. I was totally comfortable with them, and I had to hold my sides to try to keep the laughter pain down. There was one point where they were talking about a California road trip where I nearly died. One of them HATES driving...and complained the entire trip. She said, "Just bringing it up the memory makes my BOTTOM PUCKER!" bottom pucker?!?!?!?! oohhh....of course that would send me into a tizzy of laughter!!! LOVE IT!!!!

We were able to meet our number/teaching goals this week, and it felt FANTASTIC!!!! Plus, all of our hours in the sun has resulted in a nice tan...OK so maybe it is normal "winter skin" for most of you...but for me it is AWESOME!!! And my hair is really lightening up (I was kinda surprised about that one.)

This last week at district meeting we had a Testimony Meeting. The district leader didn't know why he was prompted to have one....but we all knew afterwards. That was one of the most powerful meetings I have been to. I didn't realize how many missionaries were struggling, and how we would all be able to help one another. It was amazing.

Happy Father's Day everyone! Dad, I didn't forget, there is a letter in the mail now...I just couldn't get it in the box in time. Sorry...but you are not forgotten.

Today we went to the mission office and we met up with lots of other missionaries waiting for the mail to come in...yah, I know, how typical.. :) While there, Elder Wise and his companion for Crown Point came in. They have been having car trouble...and are stuck in Farmington for a couple hours. Holy COW it was fun to talk to him again...and remember all of the fun experiences we had in Shiprock. Wow. I haven't talked so fast or laughed so much since I left Shiprock. IT felt FANTASTIC!!! And Sister Patrick was excited to see me so happy. I have been trying to mellow out and become more "refined" or "grown up" and I think it was making her worried. She seemed to think something was wrong with me...but seeing me, as my normal overly bubbly self made her feel much better.

Oh, another cool thing from today...we went to the biggest and nicest trading post in town today, Fifth Generation....and bought some trinkets....BUT the BIG surprise was that we got 70% off!!!! WHAT?!?!??!?!?!? Oh man, we are going back more now. Done deal. We felt like we were stealing when we left the store. !!! Oye!!!

Well, I love you lots! This coming week we have a mini zone conference and interviews with President Jones (because he goes home next week) and we also have a going away party for him on Saturday night.

Love you!
Sister Wilkins

P.S. here are some photos...

 doing laundry when the dryer was being used by the family we live with...

  the best sign combo ever...

and us pulling weeds in too hot of weather

Monday, June 11, 2012


Monday, June 11, 2012 (email)

I smell like wax, car wax. We were asked a long time back to wax our vehicles, but Sister Kesler and Sister Patrick had not waxed the truck yet...and he was looking sad. (I named the truck Larry when I got to Shiprock). Sister Patrick asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday and I said, wash, wax and vacuum the chitty (chitty is the Navajo word for car.) You should have seen how tickled I was at the car wash place. The Elders have always taken their truck to Octopus car wash, and I always wondered what the big deal about that place was. So this morning we tried it out. Oh, its only 8 dollars for AWESOMENESS!!!! You pay at the drive up port thingy...then pull through to a long row of overhead vacuums where you get to vacuum the car as much as you want, as long as you want...FOR FREE!!!! (You can't find that anywhere around here.) Then you pull up to the drive through wash. It has 2 attendants at the front that get you all suds up and then the conveyer for the drive through pulls you in. This is going to sound like no big deal for you, but there are no carwashes around here that have the big spinny sponge things and no hanging scrubbers.....but this place has it. I sat in the car giggling half the time and the other half I was catching flies with my mouth. Sister Patrick insisted that I looked like a little kid. I dont doubt it. When we were done with the wash, we waxed the truck. OH MY GOSH! Stressfull!!! I have never waxed a car before! Sister Patrick has never waxed one either. We were going off of what they instructed us to do a month ago. We were pretty messy by the end of it, but the truck looks sexy. Yup sexy. That's what I said. Now Larry is ready for a night on the town.

Today we are planning on going to Costa Vida for lunch (because they have a mango salsa salad which is calling my name...) but I keep calling the place Chipotle and confusing everyone. I have invited a couple companionships to join us for bowling...but my arms are so dead from waxing the car that I don't know if I can pick up a 2 oz ball....let alone the normal weight of a bowling ball. Ugh. This is going to be a hoot. Then we are going to the mall to check out a store that sells silly Navajo themed t shirts. Then to Walmart we go to get our groceries.

This week at Ward Correlation Meeting, one of the ward missionaries walked in an introduced himself to me. He was a very kind old man, and he reminded me slightly of my grandpa. I was totally shocked when he asked, "Are you by chance related to an Ernie Wilkins?" I stammered and gaped at him. " mean Earnest and Ruth Ann Wilkins?" "Yes, that's the one." "THEY ARE ONLY MY GRANDPARENTS!!!!!!!" So Grandpa Wilkins, I just met Dale of your college buddies. Small world. I love moments like this!!

This week we tripled our numbers this week (which sounds like a big deal, but it really isn't, because we had the most dismal numbers l have ever heard of last week.) We have finally met everyone that the previous sisters had listed on our board. But the crummy news is that they didn't leave ANY records at we are totally shooting in the dark...yucky.

Sister Patrick and I are doing so well together. We have more patience for one another this time, and we understand each other better. I still have the tendency to interupt her when I'm excited, and she still snaps at me...but that is the worst of our problems. So, there really isn't much to complain about at all.

She has helped me to recognize the things that I need to work on, and she is so supportive of me. I have come to realize that I have a huge problem with getting distracted. I didn't realize how constantly I change focus, until I had a few days of total concentration, and then going back to my normal crazy brain. It was so fantastic to be focused and then so miserable to realize how scattered I normally am. Now I am seriously working on staying focused on the work, the topic at hand, and anything else that comes my way.

As for letters received, if you have written me a letter in the last little while, and have not heard back from me...don't worry. You will!! I am backed up...and I'm slowly getting back on the ball on p-days.

Oh man, my brain is shot. I don't feel like I can remember anything I was going to tell you. This was not as fantastic of a letter as I thought it was going to be. Either way, I love you all!

Love, Sister Wilkins

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Farmington Fun!!

June 4, 2012 (email)


Oh, I have not been this happy in MONTHS!!!!! This is going to be a fantastic experience!!! I have never been so excited for a transfer!

Sister Patrick and I are going to translate this area! We can totally feel it! WE are white washing this area: Farmington 4th ward. It's on the south east corner of Farmington, headed out toward Bloomfield. Our numbers for this week were dismal: but that is because we spent the entire time figuring out the maps (because we got lost so often), meeting everyone (because the past sisters didn't pass on the information so well), and reorganizing the area book (because it was a mess.)

We met TONS AND TONS of people, but no one was available to teach them at the moment, so we set up handfuls of appointments for this week. Hallelujah! We hardly ever have a moment where we think "what should we do now?" IT is so great to have tons of things to do!! It's been a long time since I actually had a large teaching pool.

WE go to church at the Apache Building, which is where the mission office is. It is a really cool old building that has been around for a while. It seems to have had a million add-ons over the years. The coolest part about the chapel it that there is a GIANT stained glass window right behind the pulpit of the Savior in Gethsemane. It is a great way to center your thoughts during the sacrament. The weirdest part of going to church there is the connection with transfers and the stress of it all. There is a room in the back corner, where president meets with all of the trainers and new missionaries right before he assigns you a companion. IT is a stressful room. Everyone remembers that moment when you walk in, scared out of your mind about starting your missionary journey, and then sitting there...waiting for the moment...heart pounding...spirit jumping....hands sweating. And then there are similar memories from when someone has to enter that room to be a trainer. Why did I go down crazy memory lane about the room? Because that is where we have gospel principles we are there every week...which means I need to get my emotions in check. When I walked in pulse quickened and I started to sweat....IT WAS JUST A STUPID REACTION TO THE ROOM...just like Pavlov's dogs.

I did have a couple awesome moments this week:
1) We went to the Apache building during the week to drop off some stuff at the mission office, and there was a woman there trying to get into the Family History Center. I saw her get out of the car, and recognized her as Sister Pinto from Shiprock. The Elders found her, she was less active, and they helped her change her life around. Instead of using her Book of Mormon to hold DVDs, she started reading it...and it changed her life. She started coming to church. Her son started passing the sacrament, and they both started being involved in everything! I never worked with her really, but I knew who she was and always said hello and had simple conversation. When I walked past her, she said, "HEY! Didn't you serve in Shiprock?" "Yes, how are you doing Sister Pinto?" "I'm doing really well! I'm here to do my family history so I can take them to the temple when I go!!" She was so excited, and I was so excited for her. Even though I hadn't worked with her specifically, it was nice to see someone who's life had been changed by the gospel and they were continuing on the path. It was really rewarding.

2) I got to meet and shake hands with a  GENERAL AUTHORITY! WOOTTTT!!!!! Elder Tad Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy came and toured our mission for the week. He was accompanied by Elder Reen, an Area Seventy.  IT had been a long time since a general authority had been to the mission, so President wanted to make sure that EVERYONE got to meet him and to hear his words. We had a fireside at the Stake center buy the Farmington College. (I'm giving more details on the buildings than normal, because I know dad will get on Google and look up the satellite images) There were 4 zones there...which is a TON of missionaries...and they asked Sister Patrick to play the the two of us picked the songs. Lord, I Would Follow Thee and Let the Holy Spirit Guide. Elder Reen spoke on interpreting and listening to the spirit. Elder Callister was a very involved and commanding speaker. I was totally enthralled the entire time. He spoke of being a consecrated missionary and giving your everything to the Lord. I was SO excited because that was something I have really been trying to do: I want to totally lose myself...and I've been making changes so that I can let the Lord take complete control. I was so excited when he suggested doing certain things to help yourself progress....and I had already done those things of my own accord! WAHOO. Yay me. I think my favorite part was when he said that changing your behavior doesn't do much...because when you go home, your actions will go back to what they were before. What you need to do is change your nature. OK. I want to do that. I think I had that goal from the beginning, but I had too much pride and not wanting to lose who I was or my spunkiness. But now I feel that I have prepared myself for the change, and I look forward to letting Heavenly Father change me into who HE needs me to be....not who I think I should be.

Oh, I am ready to just fly! I feel like I'm finally starting to be a "real" missionary. and missionary brain is totally set in. I can recognize when and what distracts me...and I realize that I don't enjoy the worldly stuff any more. When I first came out, hearing a radio in a bed room was comforting because it connected me to the outside world. Now, hearing a TV or radio or the news just stresses me out and I can feel my comfort levels drop. It's kind of exciting to see the changes. (And these are just the ones I recognize! What else is there that I can't see?)

Sister Patrick and I are SOOOOO excited to be together again!! Our relationship is 10 times better. We understand each other now. we have new understanding of missionary work, and we are both ready to take off. We totally adore one another, despite our difference...we actually really appreciate the differences. We have FANTASTIC companion study time, and we stay up late talking in bed. My pondering improves whenever I am with her. I am so excited to take this journey with her. (Man, have I said "excited" enough times?)

Love you lots!
Sister  Melinda Wilkins

Oh, and now that I am in Farmington, I can attach all kinds of photos!!! WOOTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!

 There is one of me and Sister Jepson in Cortez,

 Me and Sister Kesler and Sister Patrick at transfers,

Me holding a snake head!!! (Yes, a snake head!! I was about to pee my pants,)

and the most beautiful place I have ever been (the Mancos State Park hike a few weeks ago,)

 and Sharla and Alex in Cortez.