Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas is in... 5 DAYS! Can you believe it? Man... time is a flyin. We are getting all ready for our special "Christmas Eve with the Visitors Center Sisters" Concert and also for our concert we will do on Christmas day too. We will also have a mission wide devotional on Christmas Eve morning. I am singing "Who would imagine a king" with one of the AP's, Elder Tuttle. We made a cool little arrangement of it so it should be good. I love Christmas music! We listen to Jordan Bluth singing "I heard the bells on Christmas Day" over and over again and also 259's Christmas, and just lots others that are wonderful.

It's amazing to be a part of this work, that is all centered on Jesus Christ, at this time of year. I hope I am finally understanding the true meaning of christmas, because, let's be honest... my whole life
Christmas was all about what cool things I was gonna get. Like the year I got my GLite Scooter. Man, that was the year. Ha. But really, Christmas has taken on a new meaning for me. Especially as we watch RWLJ receive our dork 12 Days of Christmas Gifts. Although some of the Elders pitched in and helped us out by giving us a couple ties and a white shirt for church. He says things like "Is this standard for Mormons to do things like this?"  Haha. He has no idea it is us even though it is SO obvious. At first he suspected it was us but thank goodness I used my acting skills to lead him to believe otherwise. On Tuesday we gave him 2 gifts at the same time and we left it on his car at the VC so he would see it when he left and when he got there he just looked at the little christmas
tree, then back at the street, thenat the tree again... And then he came back into the center an said "I believe you could help me solve the mystery as to the christmas tree by my car". I acted so surprised and said "Oh my gosh! Someone is doing you for 12 days!" And then explained it to him. Everyday we sneakily get the presents to him because we can't get into his apartment complex and he is just dying to know who it is and we just won't tell him anything. So much fun. We went to RWLJ's house last night for the first time (all our lessons have been with a member at their house or at the VC) and it was an apartment full of treasures. Come to find out his Dad AND step dad were both pretty big deals. In fact, I held a Academy Award last night. I'll send pictures next week. Roberts step dad won a Academy Award for the composing the music for a film called "Exodus"... I had never heard of it, but I felt pretty cool holding an Academy Award. There were also 2 Golden Globes. No big deal. He came to the VC the other day and told us "At 6 minutes to
midnight last night, I knew the Book of Mormon is true. That verse in Moroni hit me like a 1,2 punch from Muhammad Ali and I know it is true." AWESOME, right?! We are so happy for him. His baptism might be on the 2nd which would make him sad cause he's all pumped for 1/1/11 but we might have to switch it up. It was pretty amazing to hear his testimony of the Book of Mormon.

Speaking of the Book of Mormon. I am now in 3rd Nephi and even though I KNOW what happens, I keep looking down at he dates in the corner of the page and I keep getting more and more nervous because we are now in the A.D's and the people are SO wicked. I really do get stressed
out when I am reading because I am just thinking "HELLO!? CHRIST IS COMING!!!!! GET IT TOGETHER ALL READY!" I am loving this experience of reading it with an emphasis on Jesus Christ. It is TRUE! My testimony of the Atonement is being strengthened every single day as I read too. I'm realizing how weak I really am and how much I HAVE to rely on the Savior for help with His work becasue I really can't do it alone.

Chaparrita has Planter Fasciitis in her feet, so the poor thing is always in pain. She is getting better though because she FINALLY went to the Doctor. She's a stubborn little latina.

Well I really don't have much else to update on besides the awesomeness that is Robert Webster Light Jr.  Really I am so grateful that I get to teach him. He is a miracle! He was telling us a bit about his childhood yesterday and man that guy has just had it rough. It is so amazing to be able to watch him end his search, meet people who ACTUALLY care about him, and take a leap of faith in joining Christs true church. What a blessing.

I hope you all have a wonderful, merry christmas! 5 days til I get to talk to my Mommy. You all should tell Momma Dar how awesome she is this Christmas. I love you all! The Gospel is SO true.

Sista Brink

{PS - READERS  - photos coming soon! }

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

12 Days of Christmas

Today is the first day of the "12 Days of Christmas" countdown! How grateful I am to my Mom who had us take presents to families for these 12 days. We are doing it for Robert Webster Light Jr (RWLJ) and we are so excited. Thank heavens that my Mom sent me the BEST CHRISTMAS BOX EVER and EVER and that we have lots of goodies to share.
  Speaking of the Christmas box... I can't even explain how much fun it was to open this box. A Christmas Tree! And Ornaments! And Stockings!
  And the comfiest blankie I've ever seen! And lots of Socks! And a baby nativity! Our little apartment is just reaking of Christmas now, and I wouldn't have it any other way. My companions were pretty in awe, and all I had to say was "Yep, thats my Mom for ya." They loved their stockings and little gifts too. THANKS MOM!!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU!

 This week was so great. RWLJ is just progressing so much. I went to a baptism with him on Friday (my comps stayed at the VC and I went on Splits with another companionship to meet him at the baptism) and he was just so excited for his day. He is getting baptized on 1/1/11! How cool is that (I asked Robert that once and his response was: "frozen". Man, isn't he awesome?!)?? He came in to the VC last week after having talked about baptism with us the night before and said :
" What do I have to do to be baptized?" Talk about golden!  RWLJ wants the Baptism to be performed at 11:11. We'll see if that can really happen... Haha. We had an awesome lesson with him this week with Bro. McDonough from out ward and it was just so perfect. Bro. McDonough used to be atheist and is very intellectual so RWLJ can relate a ton to him. He came to church on Sunday and it was just such a treat. He loves looking through the Hymn Book and seeing which hymns were written by classical composers. He has the memory of... an I don't know what... but it's a good one. I made him a countdown-to-Roberts-baptism calendar and he LOVES it. He said: "After my Baptism, would you inscribe (he wants everything we give him inscribed... so we write : 'to Robert...' and he keeps everything--ensigns etc.-- in a ziploc baggie for 'safe-keeping'.) my Calendar? And then I will lock it up so it won't get damaged." Its a piece of paper with a quote on it, some holly that I drew (about which RWLJ said :"You're a signer, painist AND an artist?!" if only he knew how bad I wish I could draw... you should all know that I am NOT a good artist. My mom taught me to draw holly for christmas time and thats about all I can do....) and a calendar with the days we are going to meet, what we will teach and things he should do everyday until then.  Needless to say,  he is a  miracle.

We had a guy come in to the VC this week with a girl. They had JUST met on the bus an hour before and then they came in to the VC, she was a member but he didn't know anything about the church. I would daresay he is prepared for the Gospel. He has had a REALLY hard life, lost his son at 3 and a half months old and has just been angry at God. I can't even tell you how amazing it was to look at him and say: "I know you will see your son again". And then his expression after hearing. Really amazing. He was totally feeling the spirit and it was a remarkable experience.

So. I watched "Noras Christmas Gift" and "Mr. Kreugers Christmas" back to back on a slow morning at the VC. Bad idea. I BAWLED. And couldn't stop crying. I was just thinking about how much I have taken for granted, especially at Christmas time and how I want to be so much better. And I cried because I felt bad for Mr. Krueger. Sis- you shouldn't watch that Movie, it would be a wal mart man all over again.

Well I am going to end for now, I have lots of other stories but I need to go! Merry Christmas! I love this season so very much. And I love this gospel with all of my heart.

Sista Brink

Me and my compas!

With the Old Lady that I walked with to the Farmers Market.  That's our service project every week.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Robert Webster Light, Jr.

Well, it was a WEEK if ever there was a week.  Man, on man.

So we dropped all of our investigators. Yep. Sydney, Jay, Monique,  Monica, and Perla. All dropped because they weren't keeping their appointments, flaking on us, lying in some cases. It was really a bummer especially because 3 of them had Baptismal dates that are no longer going to happen any time soon.... We will keep in contact with them, but the ball is in their court because we need to allow THEM to decide if they want to pursue this, which is way sad because this is EXACTLY what they want deep down, it's just that Satan gets in the way of their inherent gifts if discernment. Man.

 And then there was Robert Webster Light Jr. (Yes, when we refer to him, we refer to him by his full name because that is how he introduces himself... I just wish you could all meet this guy....
Truly a "Bailee favorite" if you know what I mean... for sake of time, we will call him RWLJ for the e-mail).  SO RWLJ came into the VC and happens to be in our area which was great news because we have been praying and praying for someone who was prepared to be baptized. RWLJ has read the Book of Mormon since 1974 and says he is "attracted" and keeps being pulled to the Mormon Church. He is very knowledgeable in the Bible and is just absolutely brilliant. He probably has a Behavioral Disorder like Aspergers... I can tell by the way he interacts with us and others and also the level of intelligence he has. He is having a hard time connecting to his feelings, because he is a man of logic... Every time we ask him a question, his eyebrows go up and his fingers come to his chin... it's adorable. I'll try to get a picture this week to send. I just wanna squeeze him. But that's not allowed... He came to our Ward Christmas party and it was so great to have him. We had locked (Ok Sister Browning had locked, promise it wasn't me Mom!) the keys in the car and our cell phone died (RIGHT?!) was dead so we were late for the party and when we got there he wasn't there. We called him and he said "I came and saw food and left because that doesn't interest me". He wishes that he could take a pill to keep him from dying cause he hates eating. I told him that was definitely something we do not have in common. Anyways, he is rad and we are excited for him to be baptised.
 Pray for the 26th of December (he is praying about that day too, so the more the merrier) because that would be the best Christmas Miracle ever.
Other than RWLJ, we are just trying to find people to teach. We are spending a lot of time with the Area book, visiting less active members and former investigators. Pray for our area! And also for our now former investigators. Dropping them was so sad for me, especially because I loooooove them so much.
I really don't have much else to update on this week... The VC is just a-hoppin with people because of the Christmas lights, so it's way fun because family after family come in and I love talking to all of these people. Christmas is the best.

As I read the Book of Mormon everyday, I fall more and more in love with it.  Truly! It's so great! I want to have faith like Alma. Our Zone is studying Christlike Attributes and this week is humility... Humility is so hard becasue becoming truly humble means giving EVERYTHING to the Lord. And relying on him for everything. Right now, as we struggle to find people to teach, I am realizing how much we have to depend on the Lord for help, guidance and strength. He is so good to us.

Sista Brink

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Birthdays, A new Chaparrita, and Thanksgiving Hangovers

 Wow. It was a WEEK if I've ever had a week!

First things first. Sister Browning and I are happy to introduce a new addition to our family. We birthed a new companion! She is a tiny little, five-foot-nothing Latino. (Chaparrita means little shorty... That's what we call her). So yes, we are in a trio companionship. She is awesome! We love her. She's been out the same time as Sister Browning (leaves in March) and she just adds a little fire to our semi-frustrated companionship. We have been frustrated because we keep having these amazing first lessons with people, where the Spirit is wayyyyy strong, they committ to baptism, and then they disappear! It's almost like Satan just works on them sooo much after they experience such great feelings when talking about the truth.

 Actually, it's not even "almost like" Satan is doing that, he DEFINITELY is. Man, he is so annoying. Anyways... So we now literally have a bed-room because we have a room full of beds. It's pretty fun to be in a trio though. It will probably only be for this transfer that ends on December 29th. Not going to lie though, I will be verrrry sad if Sister Browning and I get separated this transfer. Chaparrita and I get along great though too (we are kind of assuming that Sis Browning will leave and Chaparrita and I will stay in Santa Monica as Sister Browning has been here a really long time...)

 My Birthday was such a treat! Not only did I get lots of e-mails from friends today which made me sooo happy, but last week ON my Birthday I had a few very special surprises. One was Rob Moffat walking in to the VC with a package saying "Delivery for Sister Brinkerhoff". Leave it to Dar to send him a package so that I could get it ON my Birthday. Thanks Mom! It really was just the perfect surprise. I love my scarf and cardigan, and we devoured the cake! What a perfect idea that was because we could just heat it up in the microwave here at the VC. And THEN after we ate, a Sister came back to tell me that there was someone at the VC for me. I walk out and there is PRESTON KENT SADLEIR and his sweet Mom and Brother. I was almost in tears I was so happy!
And of course because Preston knows me alll too well, he had a box of Fiber one Cereal for me with a balloon tied to it. The perfect Birthday present. I am so blessed! It really was such a treat to see him while he is here for his performances of "Next to Normal". Wonderful Birthday surprises. And THEN I got a package delivered from Linz's Mother in Law, Joyce! Another scarf, DARLING, (You know me and my scarves!) and some sweet cards and such. I love my family and friends. 
 And THEN Heather Burgess came and surprised me with a Birthday cupcake! Man oh man, I am so lucky. It was so good to see her and her sweet smile. I sure love that girl.  That's all.

 Thanksgiving was an interesting day. We had breakfast in the Morning with Sister Grossman from our ward. She is rad. It was a really great breakfast and she had us write home which was extra nice because I was dying to tell my Mom how grateful I am for her. I was so grateful for the opportunity to do that on that specific day. Then we went and visited some people, Stewart first who gave me a Scarf for my birthday too (HA!) which was the sweetest thing ever. And then we went to see the Woods' also. They weren't doing anything for thanksgiving so they were so glad to see us and invited us back for dinner the next day. We went and did service at an Old Folks home which was way fun. I sang at it, and this old Black man with only one leg asked to "meet the singer" like 10 times and every time he asked me if I had a boyfriend. Ha! Then we worked at the VC and actually had quite a lot of people coming in and out. Our Thanksgiving dinner was Pizza because we were craving it so we picked up some on the way in and it was delicious. Don't you worry because the next day, Friday, we would have TWO Thanksgiving dinners BACK TO BACK! The sweet Costello family (Sister Costello truly looks like she should be a teacher on Harry Potter.... She should be Professor Flitwicks wife. Miniature little lady) fed us a Thanksgiving Dinner after which Sister Browning threw up in the bathroom and then we went to the Woods' to find that they had been working at fixing this dinner all day because of how hard it is to move around and such because of their disease. They told us "we wouldn't have had a reason to have Thanksgiving dinner if it weren't for you" and old Sis. Woods said over and over again how grateful she was to have us as part of her family. It was one of those nights I will remember forever. Especially Chaparrita running to the bathroom to throw up too because she also ate too much. Luckily I was smart and barely ate at the first home. Genius, I know. Needless to say, we had a serious Thanksgiving hangover the next day.
 So like I said before, we are all reading the Book of Mormon before the end of the year. I am LOVING it. For the first time, I am really understanding the stories (at least more than before) and I am loving watching everything unfold. There are some amazing stories in there! My testimony of the Atonement is being strengthened every single day through reading it. 

The Spanish is sort of coming along. I can at least give a semi- tour now and having Chaparrita around helps a ton cause she is a native...

 Well I think that is all for this week. I can't believe its all ready December! I must say, the temple lights in Mesa AZ blow the LA temple out of the WATER. Don't tell anyone I said so though.

Sure do love you all! Thank you so much for your support and prayers.You have no idea how much they mean to me.

Sista Brink