Monday, December 11, 2017

Woof... you won't read this email

So, to explain my heading, I have had lots of fun in my district. The Ashton 1 Elders are funny, and Elder Burton says "Woof" all the time, and also "You won't". He makes everything into a challenge so we are more willing to do it :P so, you won't read this email... you won't. Lol 
This email will actually be a novel... so I don't blame you if you don't end up reading it all :P but I didn't send a group email last week, so I'm making up for it now :P

Anyways, speaking of my fabulous district, here are some other things we have done recently (since it's coming up to transfers soon, I'm taking time to reflect).
1 - we went bowling 🎳 last week! Elder Cannon took a model shot of our trio on his Polaroid camera and it looked amazing and old school.   I also didn't lose! Which was surprising! I think it's because I promised Elder Burton I would lose, so he decided to lose instead :P 
2 - We have an IKEA near our flat and it has become my favorite thing! So, we have been there on multiple occasions with various people in our district and also with other sisters in our zone.   #MeatballsAreLife. I also tried their Salmon at one point, and it was amazing! :)
3 - Our street Displays.   So, we have been decorating for Christmas every time we go to town. It started with just a blank tree on a table, and then the next time, we added some ornaments and lights to the tree, then we wrapped some copies of the Book of Mormon to put under the tree, then we got some Christmas music and put a speaker behind the tree, and added some Light the World cards to the display... yeah, we've gone all out :) We've had some funny stories at these displays too, from getting fully snowed on, to Elder Burton almost getting ran over multiple times, to running into members from around the world, and so many other things. I always have a laugh at street displays!

Also, we had a Christmas carol concert over last weekend and it was so good! 😊 At one point, the Primary children went up and were dressed as angels, and sang three songs. That was my favourite part! Everyone just did a wonderful job :) 

Okay, last thing - We were asked to give the lesson in Relief Society yesterday, and the chapter we taught was on the blessings of the temple. Since I was able to serve as an ordinance worker in the Mt. Timpanogas temple, I have become passionate about this topic, so I enjoyed teaching the class. Something that stood out to me in this chapter was a quote from one of my favorite talks from President Hinckley. 
"I am satisfied that every man or woman who goes to the temple in a spirit of sincerity and faith leaves the house of the Lord a better man or woman. There is need for constant improvement in all of our lives. There is need occasionally to leave the noise and the tumult of the world and step within the walls of a sacred house of God, there to feel His Spirit in an environment of holiness and peace... I urge our people everywhere, with all of the persuasiveness of which I am capable, to live worthy to hold a temple recommend, to secure one and regard it as a precious asset, and to make a greater effort to go to the house of the Lord and partake of the spirit and the blessings to be had therein." - (Of Missions, Temples, and Stewardship; Gordon B. Hinckley; October 1995)
This talk is one that helped me decide to go on a mission, so I've basically memorised the whole talk, but it's a good one! 
Anyways, I really love how President Hinckley describes the temple as a place of peace. I definitely know that to be true! I would like to add my urge to all of you who are reading this to also visit the temple whenever you are able to. It will give you a spiritual recharge and such an amazing experience. 
President Hinckley also said that temples are "the bridge from this life to the next". I love that statement because it is so true. I have heard many times that the veil is the thinnest in the temple. I have many experiences (and I'm sure many of you have as well) where I have felt the presence of angels so strongly, and I have seen others and witnessed their experiences of when the have been touched by those who have passed on. 
For our #LightTheWorld initiative this year, the Ashton Stake has decided to add on "Light the SPIRIT world". This means that we find an ancestor and take their name to the temple. I think that this idea should spread, so there you go - take this idea and go with it! :) 

I hope you can all find time for the temple this week to #LightTheSpiritWorld :)
Love you all! 

Th-Th-t-t-th-tha- tha - that's all folks!

Sister Wilkinson :)











Monday, November 27, 2017

And I cannot forget the way I feel right now 🎢

(Little wonders)

So, this week I'll start by telling you all a story and a miracle :) 

Firstly, I had my first baptism this week! It's great to see the fruits of your labours start to come up :) I can't wait for his family to progress and to eventually be sealed for all eternity. 

Secondly, We met this man named Simon at a bus stop and he seemed interested in our message.  We were able to set a return appointment with him, and we met with him again yesterday. He is very soft spoken and sometimes hard to understand, but we were able to talk to him about why we are here, and we also taught him the whole Restoration, and gave him a Book of Mormon. He seemed very willing to learn more and he enjoyed the first lesson. He is coming to our Family Home Evening tonight and we will set another appointment with him there. It's amazing to see someone's face light up at the gospel message. :)

Something else that happened this week is that I officially hit my year mark! It's now been a whole year since I left my family and came to England and found my other family :) There are so many people here that I am so grateful to have met. They are people that I have met before I came on the earth, and have now had a sweet reunion with. I am truly grateful for the experiences I have had so far on my mission! And I have 6 more months of lessons to learn! :)

And speaking of gratitude - it was also THANKSGIVING this week! I hope all you Americans enjoyed your turkey and potatoes! In the meantime, I was eating Deep Dish Pizza that a member gave us. It was pretty American though, so I guess it works ;) what was best about this Thanksgiving meal though is that the members I ate with were President and Sister Preston - who were also serving at the MTC a year ago when I had Thanksgiving there. So, now I've had TWO Thanksgiving meals with them :) so crazy! And what's even better is that Thanksgiving was on my year mark, so it gave me a perfect opportunity to reflect on what I have learned on my mission so far.

And because it was Thanksgiving week, I decided I should share some spiritual thoughts on gratitude. 

"We feel grateful for many things: a kindness from a stranger, a meal when we are hungry, a dry roof over our heads when storms arise, a broken bone that heals, and the hearty cry of a newborn baby. Many of us will remember feeling gratitude at such moments. " (Gratitude on the Sabbath Day - Henry B. Eyring - October 2016)

Also, the words of an amazing hymn that I hope you can all take to heart: 

"When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done. …
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings; ev’ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by."

I love you all and hope you have an amazing week! Happy December! 

Oh - p.s. It SNOWED the other day! 😁 It made me really happy! :)

- Sister Wilkinson

My package arrived



It looks like I'm being blessed with Funyuns!
...funyuns make me happy!






It's Snowing and our street display








Brendan's baptism


Monday, November 20, 2017

Primary colours are One, Two, Three..

Hello everyone! What an eventful week :)


So, as you have heard, I am in a trio in Ashton. So far, I absolutely LOVE it here, and I'm SO grateful for this area and my companions.

Y'all know about my step-mom in the mission aka Sister Clawson. She is still just as fun and we are laughing lots.

So, now I'll tell you a bit about my wonderful other companion Sister Stohrer. She is from a small village near Stuttgart, Germany. Her English is amazing (many people actually think she is American) - We make fun of her 'New York' accent. Another thing about her is that she LOVES Disney! 😁 so, we have spent many hours belting Disney songs together, and stopping people on the streets to compliment their Disney bags. She also loves music and is an amazing singer. I have only known her for a week so far, but I absolutely love being her companion! She has made me laugh so hard at times - she's hilarious!

So, basically - We are just a trio of goofballs and it's the best thing :)

So my companionship is wonderful! The area is also nice, it's like the outskirts of Manchester City. We actually have the Manchester City Football Stadium in our area. It's HUGE! Other than that, we don't have much :P We have a song in the England Manchester Mission that goes through each zone and says something great about it, like the Temple in Chorley, or the Docks of Liverpool, and when it gets to Ashton, it says "the streets of Ashton" ... so basically, there's nothing here ;) but I love it! It's such a good area :) And the members that I have met before are amazing! I'm excited to have Christmas with them! It's really a great ward!

Okay, so I have a funny story for you all now (and there are many others that have happened this week!) but this is the one I decided was too good to not share! :)

So, I was walking with my companions and we said hello to this man that passed. He looked over at us and smiled, and then stopped to talk to us. He looked very confused at what we were saying, and then we found out that he is from Italy and didn't know much English. So, we then started to use all the Italian we knew, and had this half English half Italian baseline conversation that was hilarious! Then, he took off his backpack and opened it up. He started pulling out his groceries one by one while we named them in both Italian and English πŸ˜‚ So the conversation went something like this...
Joseph (the Italian) - "Asparagati!"
Us - "Ah, yes. Asparagus. Asparagus is good!"
Joseph - "Aaah, Formaggio!" πŸ§€
Us - "Oooh that looks like good cheese!"
Joseph - "Ah, Gelato!" 🍨
Us - "yes, yes"
And this went on until he had pulled out everything in his bag πŸ˜‚ and in the end, he gave us all a cannoli πŸ˜‚ it was such a funny conversation! It made our day!

So, that just about sums up my week. I've really had lots of fun :) stay tuned for my updates next week!

Also, before I leave, I want to share a quote with you all that I heard this week that really stood out to me.
"No one can reach lower than the light of Christ shines" - Jeffrey R. Holland
This is a very true statement! I have read so much about how Christ is the light that shines in darkness. Also, the Christmas initiative of "Light the World" is soon approaching, and the main theme of this initiative is to reach out to others, because Christ is the light of the world, and so are we when we become more like Him. I love the analogy of light, because there is so much to learn from it. I hope you will all be able to see the light of Christ shine through any dark time you may have.

Love you all!
Sister Wilkinson :)
Ashton 2nd ward :)


pic of Sister Stohrer and I 
She is sooo sweet :) she actually reminds me a lot of Emily in the way she speaks and tells stories :) it's so much fun! An older, and German version of Emily πŸ˜‚




My scriptures lately


I had to travel here for an hour by myself with 3 suitcases to get to Ashton



This is when we said goodbye to Chester :)

                                            image1.JPG



The trio






Monday, November 13, 2017

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

WHAT TIME IS IT...?

Nope, not Christmas yet... but good guess.

It's... TRANSFER TIME!!!

So, first thing: I have now finished EIGHT transfers! Only FIVE left to go. How crazy!

Second thing: I have been given a tender mercy this transfer! It's almost unbelievable- but this is for real!

So... I will actually be leaving Chester. And guess where I will be going? Ashton-under-Lyne 2nd ward. I've heard that it's an amazing ward with about 60-70 active members. And guess who one of those members is? My MTC President! :) So, now I will be serving in President Prestons ward! 

So that's amazing!!! BUT do you want to know the crazy thing? My companions. Yes, plural. I'm in a TRIO! 3 missionaries in Ashton! 

This will be such a new experience for me, but I feel it will be fun :) Want to know why? Guess who my companions will be? Firstly, there is Sister Stohrer from Germany! This will be my first companion to have English as their second language. She sounds like an amazing Sister, and I can't wait to hear all about Germany and the culture and getting to know her!

And last but not least, I can tell you all that this transfer just keeps getting better and better. Guess who my other companion will be? Sister Clawson! Yep! The one who follow up trained me almost a year ago! What a tender mercy! It will be so much fun to be her companion again! Also, what's even crazier is that she is finishing her mission at the end of the transfer, which means that I will be her last companion. We call this "killing a missionary" - so now I get to kill BOTH my trainers! That absolutely amazes me, I'm still in shock!

Anyways, so for those of you who want a quicker update for transfers:
Area - Ashton
Companion(s) - Sister Stohrer and Sister Clawson

Sister Turnbull will be staying in Chester, and her new companion will be Sister Arthur. I served in the same district as Sister Arthur while I was in Warrington. She is from London and is also Ghanaian. She is a lovely sister and will take good care of Chester ward.

Okay... so besides the exciting news of transfers, what else has happened this week? Well, we have been able to teach many people, and learn many lessons. We had three families we are working with come to church. We are also having a baptism on the 25th of November!  How exciting is that? :) 

Now, for a quick story before this email is over. So, we were able to go to a baptism the other night for a girl that Sister Turnbull met and taught her very first transfer. It was amazing to see how the seed that she has planted has now been growing in the gospel soil. 

The funny part of this story is that it was about an hour away by car, so we needed a lift. Luckily, a member was able to save the day and be our hero because he gave us a ride there and back. But this one hour drive quickly (or I guess I should say slowly) turned into a two hour drive as we took random roads given to us by the SatNav, and also by going 35mph on a 70mph motorway. Yeah... it was a long drive :P but, I guess we got to know the member really well, so it was alright :)

Well, that's about all I've got for y'all this week. Chester is doing amazing, and I'm now off to Ashton! :)

Hope you all have an amazing week!

Sister Wilkinson :)

This is sister Dunlavy and I singing a verse of The Lord is My Light :)
















Monday, November 6, 2017

πŸπŸ¦‡πŸ•ΈHAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE πŸ•ΈπŸ•·πŸ”₯

First off, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I hope you have all enjoyed dressing up and other various things as you have been able to celebrate this great holiday! It's not celebrated as much over here in the U.K., but it's getting bigger and bigger each year according to the members. Our ward had a trunk or treat and other various activities that the children enjoyed. There's not much as missionaries we are allowed to do Halloween night, but my companion and I still put in some effort and my companion was a witch and I was a cat :P not my average Halloween, but I still enjoyed it!
Now the reason I say Holidays (multiple) is because we also had Guy Fawkes night this weekend. It happened to land on a Sunday, so they celebrated both yesterday and Saturday night (and all week really). Little bit of background on this day (known also as Bon Fire night): This occurs on the 5th of November every year. In started in the 1600's when a man named Guy Fawkes was caught with explosives trying to kill the king. He was the only one out of a large group of people to be caught and captured, hence why he's the name people remember. So, in the early days, they had this celebration that the King survived, but the way they celebrated was by throwing dummies of Guy Fawkes himself into a Bonfire. So... that's how it all started. According to one of the members, when she was younger, they used to still make Guy Fawkes out of cloth/cardboard/whatever else and then sit in town and say, "Money for the Guy" and people would give them pennies, and then when it came to Bonfire Night, they threw Guy into the Fire. Kind of a scary tradition I'd say :P but it's not like that anymore. Mainly it's just a big firework show kind of like the Fourth of July. There was one bonfire we saw, but I didn't really see what was thrown in. Once again, we couldn't go out past a certain time that day, but before we had to go inside, we were able to see some fireworks in the middle of Chester. So, that was fun! :)
So yeah, happy holidays! We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here (obviously), so I hope you all enjoy that when it comes to the end of the month! Eat lots of potatoes for me! Oh, speaking of potatoes, this actually happened a while ago, but we went to an American members home, and they gave us meatloaf and potatoes. Even though I'm not a big meatloaf fan, it was actually one of the best meatloaves I've tasted! Karen can definitely cook! :) also, the potatoes were AMAZING! I had 3 serving of them, and then they sent me home with a whole bag :P so that was nice of them! Anyway, main story is: I've had a great week! Filled with Candy, Fireworks, Bonfires, Games, Jokes, and much laughter. I hope you all have had an equally enjoyable week.
If not, here is some advice for you:

"Remember that you are of the royal house of the kingdom of God, daughters of Heavenly Parents, who reign throughout the universe. 
You have the spiritual DNA of God. You have unique gifts that originated in your spiritual creation and that were developed during the vast span of your premortal life. You are the child of our merciful and everlasting Father in Heaven, the Lord of Hosts, the One who created the universe, spread the spinning stars across the vast expanse of space, and placed the planets in their appointed orbits.
You are in His hands.
Very good hands.
Loving hands.
Caring hands.
And nothing anyone ever says about you can change that. Their words are meaningless compared to what God has said about you.
You are His precious child.
He loves you.
Even when you stumble, even when you turn away from Him, God loves you. If you are feeling lost, abandoned, or forgotten--fear not. The Good Shepherd will find you. He will lift you upon His shoulders. And He will carry you home.
...You can rejoice that you are a daughter of God. You can find joy and happiness in the grace of God and in the love of Jesus Christ. You can be glad. I urge you to fill your hearts with gratitude for the abundant and limitless goodness of God. My beloved sisters, you can do this! I pray with all the affection of my soul that you will make the choice to press on toward the tree of life. I pray that you will choose to lift up your voice and make your life a glorious symphony of praise, rejoicing in what the love of God, the wonders of His Church, and the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring to the world."
-President Uctdorf, Three Sisters, Women's Conference October 2017

Love you all!
- Sister Wilkinson E.M.M. :)