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 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 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 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!)

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." 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 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