Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010: 8 days.

And it really hasnt hit me.
Not much to report. Teaching a lot. Helping people be happy. Thats what I was called to do, right?
Part of me feels like I needed to serve a mission so that I could be shaped into the person that God needs me to be... And along the way I helped Him out a bit by teching some people. I feel like a totally new person.... Ashley 2.0!
This is basically the last mass email I'm gonna send on the mission.... Wow. How's that for TRIPPY?!
I hope to see people when I come visit Utah the 28-31! BBQ!!!!! American style, w00t!
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
All I have to say is this (click on the link!)
Love you all. Stay Strong.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010: Happy Independence Day!

This week was quite adventerous.

( And I would send pictures, but this LAN house is being weird and wont let me........ unfortunate, né?)

Well, we had a fun adventure with getting a mosquito net set up for Sis Lindsey, becasue she was being eaten ALIVE by the huge mosquitos here (Seriously over a half inch long!) We got creative and ended up duct taping PVC pipe to the four corners of her bed and draping this mosquito net over it. Now it looks like a camp-style princess bed, hahaha.

We also had an INCREDIBLY fun São João party with the ward. We even dressed up a little =D The members had a lot of fun dancing forró and square dancing, haha.

I also made some chocolate cookies this week... Seriously the BEST cookies I have ever made in my life. I dont know what I did, but the members and investigators we shared them with were quite happy =D

The work goes on. We were all set to have a baptism, Alexandre, this Sunday; we even made the cake... And he didnt come. It was kinda a mess... His girlfriend of 4 years had just broken up with him and basically he's super depressed and, even thought he believes its true and wants to be baptised... He just felt too sad to be baptised... Kinda frustrating, because he will feel a LOT better with the gospel in his life and the Holy Ghost to lift him up.

I've noticed that the greatest trials ALWAYS come before the greatest blessings. The time right before my mission was incredibly difficult, and I had a lot of doubts about my ability to serve a mission and if this was really the right thing and right place for me to be. That is because satan KNOWS what blessing are in store, and tries to deter us. But he does this in vain, and inadvertantly shoots himself in the foot, because in going through the trials that he throws at us, we draw closer to Christ become stronger and firmer in our testimony and in the gospel. Ultimately, even bad things work to the strengthening and building up of the kingdom of God.

I've seen this on the mission with almost every single investigator. They meet with us, and suddenly they are not on neutral ground anymore. They encounter trials, doubts, and then they either stay strong through reading the scriptures and praying and going to church and are baptised... or they succumb and fade away. This is one of the saddest things I've seen, because I KNOW if they just hold on a little longer and do these things, they will ultimately reach salvation. I have to have patience with people like Alexandre, who really are broken hearted and passing through a difficult time, and help them understand the light and the peace and the happiness and the HEALING that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings. I know this because that is exactly what I have found, especially here on the mission.

I had a special thought yesterday, being the 4th of July. We celebrate this day to remember the War of Independence, to remember the men that fought and died so that we may be free. Then I thought of a different war, one that we are all fighting, everyday. And I thought of the Man that died so that we may be free; free from sin and from saddness and all the things which afflict us here in our mortal state. We have the path given to us to follow straight to eternal life, but it's our choice whether we'll follow it or not. Ultimately, this is the reason I decided to serve a mission, and the reason I'm here doing it. I want to help others find that path, and find the peace and healing that goes along with it.

I can't believe I only have 2 weeks left. Time goes by WAY too quickly.

That's about all for this week... I'll see you all pretty soon ;)

Stay strong! I love you all!

~Sister Wilkinson

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010: O Fim Se Aproxima...

Well family, not much new stuff.
We've been teaching some good people. We had to let go of a couple of people because they dont want to get married/stop smoking... Always hard when you have to do that becasue they become people you love.
The US is out of the World Cup... As I had many people tell me. Today Brasil is playing. Basically the world shuts down for the games. CRAZY.
It's been raining raining raining. There was flooding in the south of Pernambuco (which is the state we're in). Basically wiped the whole town out. Literally. So the church has been sending a lot of help down there. The members here are AWESOME--so many people volunteering and helping out and donating clothes and stuff (see attached pictures... Sis Lindsey and I had some fun modeling the donated clothing... Perhaps a little TOO much fun...).
It was also São João, which is a HUGE holiday here in Brasil, and especially the Nordeste. There were lots of bonfires and loud music called forró. Pretty crazy. Combined with the bug spray we always wear, I really felt like I was camping. Just missed the marshmallows, hahaha.
Well, next week, we'll have some good baptism pictures! (Fell this week because he went to another state for são joão... I hate holidays on the mission)
For now, enjoy the picture of me making French toast!
Até mais!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010: One month.......................

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH my goodness familia. Remember how last week didnt really have much going on? Well I feel like this week had EVERYTHING.
First things first: I'm a mommy!!! I have my daughter!!! Sister Lindsey from ALASKA! So she's basically dying in the Brasilian "winter". I got to go to the airport and get her! (see foto) and it was so cool. I love her already--it really s like she's my daughter because we have SO MUCH in common!!!! She is my second american companion, and she is also blonde like Sis Ortolani.
And she definitely had quite the first week. Wednesday it POURED POURED POURED and we got SOAKED. And it didnt stop Thursday. We actually got stuck in a place waiting for the rain to calm down a little for like a half hour, then got the bus back to our house. What is usually a 5 minute ride turned into a 40 minute wait. The roads were TOTALLY flooded and the bus had to take another route and then we ended up in the middle of the intersection blocking traffic for 20 minutes while everyone honked around us. Pretty exciting, too bad I didnt have my camera. We ended up staying in the house until our appointment in the evening because it was raining SOO hard. The water was almost up to my knees in the street as we waded to our appointment (and think where it reached on the short brasilians!). I kept telling Sis Lindsey "Welcome to the Mission!" but laughing about it. Really, everything is an adventure on the mission! She has a pretty good attitude though, and we've been laughing the whole week.
Friday we had a conference with ELDER ANDERSON of the twelve apostles!!!!!!! It was amazing to shake his hand and hear his words. It was very short and simple--he mostly just talked about the Atonement of Christ and how we need to apply it in our lives to really have success on the mish. It was amazing.
We're having miracles in our area in regards to investigators! Basically people just showing up at church who dont drink or smoke or drink coffee and we ask them if they want to get baptised and theyre like "yeah, ok". Its so amazing. I really want to make this transfer the best one--I want to finish strong! So we're working with some amazing people and I fully expect to see some amazing miracles in the next month.
I dont even really want to think about coming home... Like, I'm excited to be home and walk on carpet and drink out of the sink and eat peanut butter and wear jeans, but I get kinda anxious thinking about leaving this work and this country and these people that I love with all my heart.... I'm actually not really trunky....
1) Me and Sister Lindsey in the airport!!!!!!!!!
2) Me and my district that I arrived with at the conference (Hansen, Goodwin, Snarr, Brunken, Wagoner and Me) This was basically the last time we would all be together until they all get home in 6 months
3) The Brasilians I arrived with (Tenório, Bezerra, and Francisco)
4) Me and Elder Francisco being silly in a store. (This is the foto of me Sis Lindsey sent to her family, hahahaha)
Ok, well, I love you all SOOOOOO MUCH! I am way excited to see you SOON. It's gonna fly by... Oh man... Cant think about it!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010: And the Rain Rain Rain came Down Down Down..

Hey Família
It's been POURING these days!!!!! Its like someone is dumping a bucket of water continually. So that makes walking in the streets a bit more interesting, with navagating around huge puddles.
Other than that, not much to report this week. No baptisms, but we do have a few investigators taht are really progressing, and we've been contacting a lot of references this week finding new people.
We're still teaching the American, Dwayne, and his Brasilian wife, Maria. I made American cookies for them and Dwayne about died from happiness, hahahaha. This has been a miracle couple. He stopped with coffee and has cut down on the cigarettes by half in less tahn a week. Theyre reading scriptures together and praying. Its AMAZING the effect and the change that comes through the gospel!
I get my "daughter" tomorrow, Sister Lindsey!!!!! Hahahahahahahahaha, I thought that was funny/somewhat ironic. I just know she's American and blonde. But I'll let you all know more about that next Monday =D
Also this Friday we have a conference with ELDER ANDERSON!!!!!!!!!! And Sister Lemos and I might give a training for him! AHHHHHH Pray hard for me!!!!!!!!!
But other than that... not much news this week. Next week there will be a LOT mroe!
Fotos: (From our walk to Alto da Sé, a tourist point here in Olinda)
1) An old church
2) Beautiful sunset
3) View of Recife
4) Another old church
Beautiful Brasil =]

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010: MY LAST TRANSFER!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT?! How did that happen?!
So the big news: I'm training!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! An American!
But my "daughter" isn't here yet, so I'm with Sis Lemos for one more week! (That was kinda funny, we ran around saying goodbye to everyone Monday and Tuesday only to have her stay one more week. But such is life!)
Nothing too exciting happened this week. Turns out that fever I had was dengue; so I was in bed all week with a 102*F fever. Saturday night it finally went away, and Sunday I had this red rash-like spotting alllll over my body, especially my arms and legs, and my hands were bright red, and it ITCHED. It looked like lizard skin kinda, all molted (see foto) But this is good because it means its over and going away. But yeah, I'm fine now and I have my energy back.
We've been teaching an AMERICAN!!!!!!! Hahahahaha, he's from New Orleans and Philly and has the CRAZIEST southern black accent I have ever heard. He says things like "Whats you was sayin?" and "I aks hims" My lingustics professor would have a hay day with him. He doesnt speak any portuguese, but he's married to a brasilian woman.,.. who doesnt speak very much English. But hey, that never stopped anyone, right? He was SUPER happy to talk to an American, and they both really like our message. Maria (his wife) is a lot more open to believing and praying than him... I dunno ifs its a man thing or an American thing, but they're both reading the Book of Mormon and praying. He's stopped drinking coffee and has lessened the cigarettes too!!!!!!!!!
And it is SOOO HARD to teach in English!!!!!!!!!!! I have to think so much about what I want to stay. And I'm developing a stutter kinda too in English. Oy vey.
well, that's about it for this week.
1) Baptism of Rayane and Patricia (Lemos, Rayane, Patricia, Jairo, and Me!)
2) Patricia, me, Rayane, and Lemos
3) Me being "ghetto chick" for a night, hahaha. (Aka, this is what happens when you let the young women play with your hair)
4) Juliana, me, and Lemos at the temple
5) Looking to the beautiful Recife Temple!!!!
6) Dengue
7) Our "little" box of chocolate milk we bought today, hahaha
I love you familia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll see you soon!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010: 49 Days...

...Not that I'm counting... But really, família and amigos... It's absolutely INSANE how quickly time goes by. I swear on the mission we're actually on Kolob time, because I feel like I've only been here for a short amount of time!
Well, there are LOTS of exciting things happening at home, with Linny graduating and cousins getting married and dad shaving off his moustache after 33 years!!!!!!!!!! Wow!!!!!! I'm excited to be home and share it all with you guys!
As I said, I'm flying into San Jose July 22, but we'll be up in Utah the next weekend. I'm so excited to see you all!!!!!!!!!!!!
Next week is transfers. Sis Lemos is for sure leaving Olinda ( =´[ ) but I'm for sure staying!!!! (yayy!!!) And most likely, I will be training the newbie!!! Woohoo!
So, news for this week: (Unfortunately, there will be no pictures because I forgot my cable... But next week expect a ton!)
We had two baptisms!!!! Rayane and Patrícia. It was super special. They are both amazing young women who have made a LOT of changes in their lives since they came in contact with the gospel, especially Patrícia. (We marked the baptism of her mom too!!!) I feel so honored and blessed to have a part in helping these fine young daughtersof God enter the path that ultimately leads to Eternal Life. There really is nothing better than knowing I helped out just a tad ;)
We went to the temple today!!!! It's been 6 months since we last went, and it was sooooo nice. I'm excited to go every week when i'm home. And after was fun too beasue I got to see my friend Ildelídia (from my area Madalena) and my friend Juliana from Casa Amarela!!!!! Ju hung out with us for most of the afternoon, taking fun pictures at the temple and getting some tasty ice cream =] I havent seen her for 6 months either, so I was super excited. I love that I've made some amazing friendships here on the mission.
Health-wise, I've been sick with a fever for the last 3 days, so i've been popping ibuprofen and sleeping a lot. I was waiting to see if it would go away after a couple days, but it hasnt, so i'll probably be going to the doctor tomorrow. I've never been sick so much in my life than I have been here on the mission. But i'm still happy and working as much as I can =] This too shall pass, ne?
Oh, other exciting news is that Elder Neil L Anderson is coming to our mission in a couple weeks!!!! I don't know what we do to deserve all this Apostolic attention, but I ain't complaining ;) I'm way excited!
Well, família... That's about all for this week. I love you all and thank you for your love and support. It always makes me so happy to open my email and see the names of people I love. It helps me make it through the hard times.
Until next week!