Friday, October 29, 2010

Life in LA Times

You know, there's not many places in the world like LA. In fact, I would daresay it is like its own little world. I can't even describe how many different types of people there are in this city. And I get the privelege of talking to a lot of them! It's pretty awesome.

 I talked last week about my ward. This week I was able to get to know a lot of them more. I'm serious when I say I have never been in such a financially diverse ward! Ever. It's pretty amazing. I really am being humbled more and more every single day.

 LA is awesome you know why? It's a melting pot of the world. We have Dr.90210 coming in to the VC yesterday (literally. He's a member... brought his family in. I think his suit was a million dollars) and then we have Latinos who have hardly anything coming in. Speaking of Latinos, I gave my first
Spanish tour yesterday. Believe it or not, I really am learning Spanish. I love it. Of course I'm sort of retarded sometimes, but I am told I am picking it up quite well... We'll see in a year and a half or so if I am fluent. You bet your bottom dollar I will be. Anyways.

It's amazing how many different people there are in this city. I tracted into a woman this week who grew up in foster homes, her teeth were sitting on her coffee table, her kids are both pregnant and one wants to abort, and she had a huge bowl filled with ashes on her table. OH and she had frogs EVERYWHERE. Not real ones, statues and such. It was really awesome when I  said "Do you like frogs?" to get in the door. If you're wondering if it worked, it did. She was really against the church and said she hadn't prayed since she was a kid and that God has forgotten her. Broke my heart! I asked if we could pray. She agreed. It was a neat experience. It's really amazing to realize that God loves all of his children so much. It's US that forget HIM. Never the other way around.

A woman came into the VC this week who had no hair. Of course I asked if she was on chemo. She wasn't. She had a hair-pulling disorder. She had pulled most of her hair out. We had a really good talk about beauty and what it really means. This woman was BEAUTIFUL. And Bald. And wore it with
confidence. She said she used to wear a wig, but that her grandkids didn't like it because "It didn't look like Grandma". Touching story.

I gave a tour to a man who is from Greece. He is 23 brothers and sisters, the oldest one being 108 years old. True story. I couldn't understand a word the man was saying, so it was a good thing his wife was there to translate. Can you imagine?! 23 BROTHERS AND SISTERS! What in the world?!

I had a really sweet experience with a spanish family a couple days ago. I gave them a tour in spanish with the help of another sister. We watched "God's Plan for His Family" together and then talked about it afterwards. The man, who is the bishop of his ward, was talking to Sister Cass and I and he kept motioning to me and was very emotional. Later, Sister Cass told me that he said that "even though she only knows a little spanish, i knew everything she was trying to say through the spirit." Ladies and gentleman, the gift of tongues. No but really, it was such a testimony builder to me that the Spirit can communicate WAY better than we can. It's such an amazing gift we are blessed with.

 Funny story. I took an african american man on a tour last week who wasn't a member but was way interested in the history of the church and stuff. We watched the Joseph Smith movie and, even though I had taught him beforehand all about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon for about an hour, he leaned back to me during it and said "true story?". Wow. He wants the missionaries over now, so I guess something was working cause apparently what I was saying wasn't quite hitting it.

 I tracted into a woman who was driving Michael Jackson's old range rover. We  had a really good discussion about religion and then I sang "I am a child of god" for her and her son. It was a neat experience. I told all the other missionaries that "we practically rode in Michael Jacksons old car." Nothing wrong with embellishing from time to time :)

We have an investigator named Daniel. We have a couple who all live in sober living and they are so awesome. Daniel is really progressing and it has been such an honor to teach him. These people have seen so much heartache, and it's mostly because of the choices they have made in their lives. Danielwent to church for the first time yesterday and he "liked it". Ha. He's a 20 year old kid but he is really trying to find God. It's so amazing to see someone with so much hardness slowly become soft.

 Well those are my stories for the week. I think this week I really learned that every single person has something to offer. In the christus presentation, Christ says (as well as in the scriptures) "My father has many mansions... I go to prepare a place for you" and today I was thinking about how that promise applies to EVERYONE! All walks of life, people with problems, hard times... everyone can have eternal life if they want it. Christ's arms are always open for us, we just have to receive his offering. I'm so grateful that I get to learn and grow through teaching other people what I know is true. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I know he is my  Savior. Con Dios, Nada es imposible! (That's my favorite phrase right now. Mostly applying to me learning espanol). I love you all! Keep the letters coming :)

Sista Brink

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hollller from LA!

What a crazy couple of days. LA is a fastttttt moving city, as I'm sure you all know. I Love it already.

Couple items of business:

1) my address is different than the address that is on my blog. It is

*1591 E. Temple Way Los, Angeles CA 90024*.

Send mail there please! I will get anything that was sent to the other address. It's a mistake that they are working on...

2) I can only e-mail family. SO anyone can e-mail ME, but I can only e-mail my family. Keep e-mails and letters coming though and I will write back!

3) My hair is a problem here in LA. I think it's gonna be curly for the next 17 months. that doesn't really affect you, but it an item of business.

We got off the plane, met our mission president-- President Baker-- and his wife and the AP's and then we drove to a church, met our companions and then it was off to proselyte! They don't mess around. My companion is Sister Browning and she is rad. The second we started tracting together, knocking on doors, and talking to people on the street, I knew I was going to learn a LOT from her. She's quite the missionary. AND on top of that, we have a lot of fun together. She's hilarious. We laugh a lot. That first day tracting we ran into some interesting people. It's crazy how many different types of people there are in LA. I mean we all know that, but when you are finding people to share the Gospel with, you realize how diverse it really is.

It was this first day tracting that I decided something: I'm going to learn Spanish. My companion is a Spanish-Speaking missionary, and a lot of the other Sisters at the VC (Visitors Center) habla espanol tambien, so I am learning from everyone. I've actually learned quite a bit all ready and I can almost lead a tour en espanol. Proud? My goal is to be fluent by the time I leave. Don't follow up on that though...ha.

The VC is pretty amazing. Most high-tech one in the world! Everyone should come see it. It really is pretty awesome. I have all ready had amazing experiences with people that I have taken on tours and such. Russel M. Nelson came and dedicated the building on Friday. I got here Wednesday and 2 days later, I got to shake the hand of an apostle of the Lord! He gave us missionaries a fireside and it was amazing. He walks in the room, and you KNOW he is an apostle of the Lord, the spirit is that strong. Pretty amazing. A lot of well-known ministers from the area were here at the dedication. I became really good friends with one of them and she was so interested in the teachings of the church.

The VC is such a great resource. Any question can be answered by a video, presentation, or missionary. It's such a cool thing to be a part of. Sis. Browning and I were saying a prayer to leave the apartment to head to the Dedication and I was praying and I was all ready laughing at something I had said in spanish before the prayer so I was ready to burst at any given moment. And then I said "Please bless that we will receive elder nelson gracefully". I meant "graciously" and when I said gracefully" I had this image of Elder Nelson floating in a lyrical dance to us missionaries, and us receiving his movement likewise. Needless to say, I lost it. I couldn't regain my composure, so Sister Browning finished my prayer. Hilarious.

My ward is amazing. We are serving in the Santa Monica area and our ward is the most diverse ward I have ever seen. From the richest to the poorest. Morgan From "Laguna Beach" and her husband are in our ward, and then we have people who barely get food on the table. It is such a strong ward though. True story...A woman named Zekaia is a recent convert and she gave the lesson in Primary and it was a really amazing thing. The kids were all being rowdy and such and then when Ze Ze started to speak, so humbly and nervous, the kids just paid full attention to her. I got a little teary eyed during her lessons, realizing how blessed I am to have had this gift of the gospel my whole life. There are so many people who need the gospel...I watched her teach and I knew that Jesus Christ died for each and every one of us. Tender mercies.

I've all ready seen 2 friends that were in LA come in to the center. Court came, and OH what a treat that was. Really, such a wonderful hour or so that we walked around the center. Rob Moffat lives here in LA so he stopped by. I'm sure I will see him a lot. Its weird, it's only been 5 weeks since I have seen everyone, feels like years.

Hope this finds everyone happy and well. I miss you all. I show pictures of all the grand kids and the familia to everyone a lot and I brag probably too much about how cool everyone is who I have picture with in my album. I really do love you all. The church is true! The Atonement is soooo real and I can see it working on people all the time. It's amazing. Keep the letters and emails coming. I am loved, and it is gooooood. Thank you so much.


Sista Brink