Monday, August 27, 2012

Heaven on Earth

Monday,  August 27, 2012 (email)

I know why Heavenly Father gave me the last few companions I have is so I could ABSOLUTELY TREASURE the experience I am having now!!!!! This has been the most fun week of my entire mission!!!!!

I am training Sister Kelsey Isaacson from Emmett, ID. She is my twin!!! She was at BYU-I studying early childhood and special education...gasp! THAT"S WHAT I WANT TO DO. She loves to too. She tells really awesome stories...I LOVE stories. She wears her hair in a giant bun on top of her head at night...ME TOO!!! She has a tie die She is the oldest of 4...ditto. She has brown hair and freckles...sounds familiar.

We have had a total ball this week. On monday I stayed up until 3 am talking with Sister Kesler before she went home, and it was the best thing ever. That was probably the best conversation I have ever had with her. Then I was up at 5 am Tuesday  morning for the meeting...
So I was pretty much the walking dead all day. The assistants and President Batt are particularly impressed with how well I keep the ward area book with everyone's info and all they asked me to teach a special training on it at the big meeting for trainers and new missionaries. I WAS THE ONLY CIVILIAN (non-leadership missionary) TO TEACH ANYTHING THAT DAY!!!  No big pressure...ya right!

Sister Issacson and I be-bopped around on Tuesday getting a million and one things done for her. We started laughing right from the beginning. We had so much fun that we started a "Daily doodle" ...meaning we do a gimpy drawing of the funniest thing from the day. So far we have us as sleeping walking missionary zombies, her falling asleep while I try to orient her to the ward, her freaking out at a prairie dog (she didn't know what it was), the two of us crawling on the floor totally scared out of our minds, me standing on her back to change a light bulb, and her catching a frog....stories to follow :)

On Wednesday, we were studying in the morning, and we saw a man come up to the door and ring the bell. Being the only ones home, and not knowing who the heck he was, we refused to open the door. We got wigged out when he was still standing there after a long while. We started crawling on the floor, with our eyes peaking out the window to see when he left. We had our hearts plummet to the ground when he opened the freaking door!!!! We flipped and crawled on all fours so that we could get to the other room where the phone was to call the members we live with. We were about as scared as you could ever be. As I was trying to text Ronda, we got a message from her letting us know he was coming...well she was a little late, but we were able to breath easy again.


The other awesome story was from Saturday night. We were pulling weeds for a service project, in the dark and the cool, and we discovered a frog. Sister Isaacson started squawking my name and I turned around to see her running at me with a GIANT toad in her hands. I ran to get my camera, trying not to pass out from laughing so hard, and by the time I could get it going, she had dropped him and was chasing him around the yard, with the help of the family dog. Later in the night I saw him again, and got another photo of this beast. We decided it was a good thing she didn't catch him because he probably would have been her prince, and then she would have gone home to marry him, and I would have been left all alone and sad. :)


There is also a photo (or 2) of me at a random door in the middle of a field/cliff thing. It doesn't make any sense for it to be there...but we loved it, and decided to write a story about 2 sister missionaries who get chased through the door by hundreds of prairie dogs, and they get teleported to Nephite times...We figure that our experience in Book of Mormon times will help convince President Batt to let us open a new rez area for sisters :) It's a long shot, but we are willing to try. (The photos are of us, tracting it out...and me banging and begging to get in.)

The absolute coolest thing of the week happened yesterday at church. There was a man, Gerald, who was taught one lesson by the sisters before the white wash 3 months ago. (He came a couple times to church with them as well.) I met him my first Saturday in the area. We were able to get him to church that first Sunday, but I haven't seen him since. We would call and try to set up an appointment EVERY week since, but nothing ever worked out. He finally called back Saturday night, and was having a really terrible time with his family. He takes care of his abusive and alcoholic mother, and she is NOT SUPPORTIVE of him and the church at all....his life just felt like too much to manage. He started telling me how much he missed having the sacrament in his life, and he could totally feel the difference. HE wanted to come, but he also wanted to talk with his ward we got them in contact...and they convinced him to come Sunday morning and to get a blessing. After sacrament meeting, he and our ward mission leader went to do the blessing. when they came into Sunday school, the ward mission leader had been crying. They sat directly behind us, and he leaned forward to tell us that Gerald wanted to be baptized as soon as possible!!! We were so shocked and excited! Gerald wants it so bad! I don't know if I have ever seen someone want it so badly. It is incredible. We have a big lesson with him tomorrow to set a date and see how quickly we can do this. (I am really excited, because this will give Sister Isaacson the best opportunity to learn the ins and outs of missionary work in a short period of time. This is going to be awesome!!!)

I love you all! Please pray for Gerald that everything goes well, and that we can do this quickly and the right way. And congratulations to the Searle family, and to Jessica for her baptism!

All my love,
Sister Melinda Wilkins

Monday, August 20, 2012

drum roll please...

Monday, August 20, 2012 (email)

tatatatatatatatatatata (that was the drum roll) CHING!!!

I am training AGAIN!!!!
It really wasn't that big of a surprise, because President Batt had mentioned it 3 weeks ago as a possibility, and then he had ANOTHER interview with me this week, and he said it was a MAJOR possibility then. So, I'm training. There is only one sister coming in, and I think her name is Sister Isaacson...maybe...I'll know for sure tomorrow. I do know that she is from the eastern part of Idaho...and that's about the extent of it.

This weeks transfer news was absolutely CRAZY! There are 15 new elders coming in, and only 2 going home, which means lots of new areas being opened up. They closed Cortez for sisters (not a big surprise...that needed to happen long ago) but they opened Page, AZ for sisters. There are a heap of new elder areas...and BIG changes with all the Zone leaders. Many of the previous zone leaders were chosen to be trainers (often opening new areas) and then they had to call new Zone Leaders. Through the grape vine, I found out that Elder Munns and Elder Buynak, my buddies from Shiprock, became Zone leaders. Cool. Its a really neat experience to watch the Lord and the work change these boys into really dedicated leaders. Very cool thing to witness (I hope when I get back you can see changes in me, that I let the Lord change me into a stronger, more dedicated woman.)

Sister Rowley is being transferred to Aztec, NM and she is really excited about it. She will be with her old MTC Three months out and they are together again...that rarely happens, but her new companion is INCREDIBLE so it will all work out nicely.

We had a pretty good week. We found two new incredible investigators. They are both so eager to read the Book of Mormon, and one of them even came to church. She tried to get out of it (Patricia) but we convinced her to come anyways. At the end of the block, we asked her how she felt. "When I got here I was so uptight and stressed, but now I feel so good and fantastic. AND, the things said today were the PERFECT things for me! How did that happen?"...hahahah! I love this church and gospel! ITS AWESOME!!! (We were very happy to explain to her how that all works out and how Heavenly Father blesses us in little ways like that all the time.)

The other awesome occurrence this week was visiting Beth Hasenbog. She moved in a while back, and some ward members helped her out. we have met with her almost weekly ever since,...but it was usually light religious discussion while we helped her settle in and unpack. Well, we felt the strong impression to finally read from the Book of Mormon with her, and we were going to do everything in our power to make it happen on Saturday. ...We walk in, sit down and she says, "I need you to help me find some passages from the Book of Mormon that will help me. Life is going crazy at work, I am miserable, and I feel like I can find answers in here." ....I was almost positive I heard the Hallelujah chorus ringing in my ears. My face beamed, and we taught, and read, and you watched her light up as we read and explained. AWESOME!!!!! SO STINKIN' EXCITED!

Oh, more miracles: we were able to get another new investigator to the Mutual activity (we went too) and we walked inside...AND SHE ALREADY KNEW MOST OF THE Young Women!!!!! It doesn't get much better than that!! Sweet!!!

I am including a photo of the coolest dinner I have had since I came out. The Gish Family, who I absolutely adore, fed us this week. They found out that neither I nor my companion had ever been served a greenie they took it upon themselves to help us with that. We had green lemonade, green salad, green beans, green noodles (cooked in green water), with green chicken (yes, green) in a green chile sauce. To top it off, we had green cake. LOVE THEM!! (They were also the family that supplied us with marshmallow guns last week for our mallow war.)

There is another photo of a new necklace I got. It was one I had admired at the trading post owned by and LDS family in town. I've drooled over it for weeks. Well, the other day an elder from way out in Toadalina came in and was showing us the necklaces he bought for his mom. I recognized one and the necklace laying directly next to the square one in the display. I told him how excited I was to eventually buy the square one. He disappeared and I didn't think anything of it. A half hour later, he shows up with a tiny box and gave it to me.....and you guessed it, the square necklace was inside. He REFUSED to let me pay for it....I was SO TICKED at him for not letting me pay...But he does that to everyone. The kid is totally loaded, and gives gifts as a way to show his friendship. If you refuse a gift, he gets really offended, so I accepted and made sure to be particularly thankful.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Enjoy the ending days of summer! Be safe. Have fun. Devour the scriptures. Say prayers until your knees hurt. And love the heck out of everyone you see!

Sister Melinda Wilkins

Monday, August 13, 2012

I can't think of anything really clever...

Monday, August 13, 2012 (email)


Let's see how quick I can do this...
We contacted a former investigator who's name is DeAnndra. She is 15 and was taught by the sisters last summer. She wants to be baptized, she just needs to find a ward member who she is comfortable with to do the baptism. Well dang! That's awesome. She is so much fun and I can't wait to get to get to know her!!

The other day I got a call from the singles ward sisters here in Farmington. They were trying to contact Angie Garcia, my favorite and last baptism in Shiprock. They are trying to help her get active in the singles ward, because they think it will really help her to thrive, and I agree. I was so tickled to hear that they are in contact with her, and I can't wait to see what happens. I totally adore Angie, and I think she may be one of my favorite investigators ever.

This morning we had a marshmallow war!!! There were a bunch of us sisters with access to some marshmallow guns/pipes and we had a BLAST (get the pun? ha) We had HUNDREDS of mallows everywhere, and we laughed through the entire thing!! There was one moment, where an elder who had gotten under everyone's skin walked into the gym...totally unaware...and all 10 of us clobbered him with marshmallows!!! SWEET!!!!!

Today was the first day of school around her, and I had a really tender moment I got to watch. The Castelli boys (the family we live with) were all bright eyed and bushy tailed and excited for the day. I watched them take their photos and get their hugs and words of encouragement as I ate my breakfast. IT was such a sweet moment... and I realized this is why I serve...FAMILY. LOVE. TOGETHERNESS. This is what we offer people. This kind of love is what Heavenly Father offers each of his children. This is something I will seek after. It was just a perfectly sweet moment this morning that I am so tickled to have witnessed.

Last Monday at Walmart, I turned the corner and saw a familiar I smiled and kept walking...but then the gears in my head finally started to work and I realized who it was...and then my stomach dropped out! UGH!!! IT was McKelly, from Shiprock, who was the TERRIBLE  CREEPY MAN from Shiprock who would always hug me, and then proposed to me at a ward activity,...multiple times. EEEWWWWWWWWWWW GROSSSSSSSS!!!! By the time all of this registered in my brain, it was too late and he was by my side. CRAP. My companion was informed who he was under my breath before he got to me, and she stiffened almost as much as I did. We tried to be as polite as possible...but after and eternity of 3 minutes, we were able to literally RUN away. Oye. Not fun.

There are a ton of other things I want to tell you, but we have to run off to our dinner appointment. I hope you have a wonderful week, and I can't wait to talk to you all next week... Oh, and transfer news come this Saturday. I told president I could totally handle another transfer with Sister Rowley, but he led onto the idea that I might be training someone new we will have to see what happens. I told him I would do whatever he needed me to do, and I would do it with a smile on my face (well, I did tell him that if he put me with Sister Nay again it would probably look more like a grimace, but I would do it none the less.)

Love you!
Sister Wilkins

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hello from weed central

Monday, August 6, 2012 (email)

When I say "weed" I mean as in the ones that grow everywhere that make you want to scream!

I'm sorry that I wasn't able to write last week, but I for sure have 9 minutes right now. Let's see how fast my fingers can type.

We have been doing service like its nobody's business. We pull weeds for Ronda (the lady we live with) whenever we get the chance. She has a HUGE backyard that has not done so well in fighting the weeds. She has bad health, and can't get out there to do it. I spend my half hour of exercising out there working on my arm muscles by pulling them. These boogers are HUGE!!!! They are so mean and snarly! Oye! Plus I realized that whenever my skin touches one specific kind, it stings, goes numb, and gets a rash. Not fun.

I included a picture of the Peace Family. From Left to right its, Michelle, Emileigh, Chris, and Lileigh. We did a very sad thing with them this week: we moved them to Bloomfield. SSOOOOOBBBBBBBBB!!!!!! We were glad to be able to help them, but heartbroken to say good bye. We made sure they had the elders' phone number and we had our ward mission leader contact their ward.

This week also had another sad moment, but this one is a bit more intense. There was a recent convert, Carol Curry, who was baptized last fall, who died this week. I felt the prompting that we needed to go see her after planning, and just as we were about to leave the house, we got a call that she had been found dead in her trailer. The Relief Society President found her. We talked with the President later in the week, and she said she had also had the prompting to go over. She was glad that someone else had received some nudges as well; but she was also glad that she was the one to find Carol, and that we were not the ones who had to do it. It is sad because no one was there with her, but it is ok. She was peaceful. It was in her sleep. She has had a LOT of health problems recently and now she is healthy and happy. She is with her husband, and she was active when she died. We are all glad that she was able to leave this broken body behind and find joy.

Changing subjects, I had Navajo tea for the first time this week! (don't worry, it is ok with the Word of Wisdom). Last summer Sister Tsosie and I picked a flower on the side of the road, cleaned it, dried it, and tied it. Well, she took it when she transfered, and I was really sad I didn't get to experience it. A couple weeks back I was given some dry Navajo tea, and I asked Dorothy, my shima, to help me make it. We boiled it in water for about 30 min, and then it was time to drink. I don't know what I was expecting it to taste like. Certainly not sweet cider or anything, but I was still kinda taken aback when it just tasted like a plant soaked in water. :) HA! When I added sugar to it, the whole thing kinda tasted like cream of wheat...weird taste for a liquid thing.

I also included a photo of my new Navajo CTR ring. I absolutely adore it!

Then there is a photo of me and Sister Rowley. I realized you didn't know what she looked like yet. Notice that her badge also says Sister Wilkins. HA! I always carry around an extra tag incase I forget mine. well...I never forget mine, but my companions often there are many days where there are two Sister Wilkins' roaming the streets of Farmington :)

The last photo is of wild turkeys. They roam this area all over the place, and we were finally able to get a photo of some this week.

Well, that's about it for out here. I love you all!!! Be safe. Have fun!

Love, Sister Melinda Wilkins