Monday, December 26, 2011

365 Days Til Christmas!

Ok there is a story behind that...

So I am my mothers daughter and I totally had a countdown for Christmas... I would write in on the board at the Visitors Center every day and then Sis Macdonald would erase it every night haha. Finally, we got one of those tree counter things where you move the candy cane every day so that she couldn't erase it. So then on Christmas day I wrote "365 days til Christmas!" on the board and Sis Macdonald about died. It was pretty hilarious. She did cry a little too when I gave her a picture of all the sisters in a beautiful frame. I love that woman so much. They actually leave in like 2 weeks... that will be a very sad departure. They have been such wonderful VC Directors!

The next time I write to you will be 2012. That is the craziest thing in the world. I remember this time last year thinking "Woa... I dont go home til 2012, that is FOREVER away" and now... BAM! It's here. I hope I am a different person than I was at this time last year. I think I am... I am excited for a new year. Not very excited about leaving this place, but I will cross that bridge when I get there.


Oh my gosh. Christmas as a missionary involves this:
Ok I think you get it... I don't think you understand how many treats. EVERYONE brings us treats. And we all eat them. We all have food hangovers today. It's pretty awesome. I can't even thing about cookies. (But speaking of cookies... Court. You read my mind. I had 2 of those almond snow man cookies at a members house once and I fell in love. Maybe I ate like 10 of them. THEY ARE SO GOOD! Thank you!)

Ok Christmas involved a lot of more things too.
-Miracles: SO many non members come into the center... to see the concerts, the light, etc. It is really amazing to talk with them because they are so much more open!
-So many emotions... Christmas just brings so many things out in people. People want to share, to change, to love, to serve. We all feel so much closer together at christmas.
-Christmas music! Probably one of my favorite parts. We had a Mission wide devotional on Christmas Eve and it was all music and talks by President and Sister Baker. It was incredible. I loved it so much and felt overwhelmed with gratitude to be a missionary for another christmas here in LA. We also had a VC concert by all of us Sisters on both Christmas Eve and Christmas. They turned out beautifully! Put a bunch of Sisters together to sing, and people love it. The Spirit helps a lot too...
-Christmas was 75 degrees. RIGHT?! Beautiful.
-Members: They are so good to us. They just make us feel at home for Christmas... So wonderful. Our Christmas feast was seriously a feast. Wow. You wouldn't believe it. And so beautiful too...
-Packages! THANK YOU TO EVERYONE! Thank you for the cards! Thank you for the gifts! The love! I am so blessed. To my new blog-following friends: Thank you for being a part of this special experience :) I love making new friends!

We had lots of fun things... A party with the sisters at the Apartments... Santa Came! See attached pictures :)

Christmas involves a lot more things... but thats a good list for now.

It was a good week! It was difficult to set appointments with everyone Christmas-ing. But we were able to see a lot of members as we delivered treats to them to try and get to know them more. This is a great ward.
We did meet with a new investigator- we shall call her Jasmine. Because she looks like Jasmine from Aladin- twice. She is awesome! Sis Moon met her at the Visitors Center and she referred herself, not really knowing what that meant. We met with her for a bit on Tuesday to just set our expectations (we were on shift so we couldn't have an actual lesson) and she agreed to learn more. Then we had an actual lesson and she committed to baptism on January 21st! WOO HOO! It was a great lesson and the spirit was really strong. Sis Moon shared the 1st vision and I was so proud! She did such a good job with her little Korean accent. She is such a great missionary. We are very excited for Mandana. She's amazing.
Abuelo was around this week, at the Visitors Center etc. We are still at a loss for how to help him progress towards baptism. He went to church yesterday and loved it, of course. He always does. He loves the Book of Mormon. Just will not agree to be baptized. Soon, I hope! We are trying to have faith in the Lord's timing for Luis. We love him a lot. We did him for 12 days of Christmas and he figured out it was us and he was SO funny about it.... Just would not stop saying thank you thank you thank you thank you. He really did seem very grateful to have someone love him like we do... He is so adorable.

I loved being able to talk to my family. I told all the sisters about Travis telling me Jakes throat was messed up and then Jake just making obnoxious noises. They all thought it was pretty hilarious. I do have a great family, if I do say so myself. Love you all so much.
This week I reflected a lot about the Savior. About my understanding of him, my relationship with him. It is the absolute most important thing to me. He is the most important being in my life. I believe in his power. I believe in his words... I am learning how to use the atonement more everyday. It is difficult, but I can see how incremental it is. How each day matters and brings us closer to him, if we will but choose to do so. I want to continue to let Christ be the center of my world. Forever.
Love you all. So. Much.
See you in 2012! AGHJDSHGJLSHJ! Nuts.

Sista Brink

Pictures: All from the Mission wide Devotional and from Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

You better sit down.

Ok. The time came. They kicked me out of Bel Air. More like escorted me out, as I had seriously deserved that by now having been there for 9 months. It was pretty bitter sweet, I was definitely ready for a change but I had really fallen in love with the Westwood 1st and UCLA wards. I really had. It was sad to say goodbye to people, but honestly they can come in and see me anytime they want. Haha. AND I had to move apartments! For the first time my entire mission. That is seriously unheard of. It was terrible! I had to move to a whole other FLOOR in the same apartment building. How dare they. Haha . I am on the 4th floor now and honestly, that extra flight really does make a world of difference. I'm like panting at the top. Would someone please get me a gym membership? And fast. My new companion is Sister Moon. I am the luckiest sister in the world, honestly. She is from South Korea and is incredible. I have actually had a strong premonition that she and I would be companions at some point and here we are. I also knew that I would serve in Brentwood at some point and that's where we are! I am back in the Santa Monica Stake which I am totally happy about. It's pretty funny, my whole mission I have spent within like 10 miles. And Sister Mortensen (Mortypants from the MTC) went to Bel Air. And she was in Brentwood before, and we both started in Santa Monica, so we have had the exact same mission which is just pretty hilarious.

So yes, I am now in Brentwood and I am loving it so much. I had many confirmations this week that this really is exatly where the Lord wants me. And that I have so much to learn from these people.

We are teaching some amazing people. The humblest people. I love them so much all ready and I have only met a couple of them once. I really believe that we are going to see a lot of miracles this transfer. Stay tuned.

We met with... we shall call him.... The L Man.... this week. He is so sweet and sincere. His living situation is not great and he has a lot to complain about but he doesn't. We talked about faith and really this man has a lot of it. He is so close to our Father in Heaven and it was a really humbling experience to be able to talk with him. I'm excited for the miracles that will happen for him.

We also met with... we shall call him.... Abuelo. He is the sweeeeeetest man in the world! He is from Mexico and is very close to his catholic faith but has been going to our church for a while now. He is 83 and adorble. We came over and he was all dressed in a suit. Just adorable. And our lesson was really great... he has a testimony of the Book of Mormon (WOO HOO) but it is hard for him to let go of his 83 years of catholicism. He has been through a lot but has his head held high. He is an incredible man.

There are others, but we didn't meet with them yet just talked for a while and they are amazing! I am so grateful to be where I am.

Sis Moon is hilarious. Seriously hilarious. We made a gingerbread house today! So fun. This is her first and last American christmas so I am trying to make it as good as we can. Any ideas? We listen to Christmas music and we are going to do "12 Days" for someone we are working with and probably make rice crispy wreaths for some members and investigators. I hope she has a fun Christmas (Mom, can you send her a stocking? and some Brink PJs's?) I wish I could explain to you how funny she is, but I cant. She drops stuff all the time and makes the funniest growling noise. And she can totally laugh at herself which makes me so happy because we just laugh together. She is so pure and lovely. I love my Moon bear!

Christmas at the Visitors Center is a madhouse of miracles. It's really amazing. Always packed with people after 7 o'clock and there are fun concerts. The other night Sis Moon bear and I were in charge of ushering a childrens choir. Maybe I cried in it. I love Christmas time so much. I have told many stories about how grateful I am that my Mom taught me the real meaning of Christmas (even if I was a snot and was still really greeeeeeeeeedy.... I did understand, was just choosing to be a snot. I'm sorry! ) . I love this season and I never want it to end!

Allrighty, I sure love you all and hope you are all doing great. xoxoxoxo

Sista Brink

Monday, December 5, 2011

December Monday


Well things just keep getting crazier and crazier. Remember that one time that we were down to a duo, not a trio? SURPRISE! We had Sister Chen join us last Wednesday. She is from Provo but her parents are from Taiwan (which is what she has to tell everyone because everyone just stares at her when she says she's from Provo, because she clearly looks Chinese) She is a visa waiter, on her way to Taiwan and will be here in LA with us for about 6 weeks. She is awesome. Super funny. And super darling. We are having fun playing tricks on her. Like the other night, we told her that we have "Saturday night meditation". We told her all about it during the day, that we sit in a circle and stare at each other in silence and meditate. Haha. So then at 10:00 I said "Ok lets have companionship prayer and then meditation..." So sis Chen says the comp. Prayer and in her prayer she says "please bless us to have a good meditation" and Sis Green and I just started laughing SOOOOOO hard. It was pretty hilarious. So that gave it away and we didn't have meditation. We also had dinner with my tender Mercy, the Crowes, and we pretended she only spoke Chinese. It was so funny. They were like talking all slow to her. And then right after we started eating, Sister Chen just started talking. The Crowes looked so confused. It was pretty hilarious. I was proud of my little girl.

Things are going well! It is transfers again tomorrow night. WHAT THE?! I only have 2 more transfers! That is NUTS! It cant be. It's too soon. I'm not ready for the real world. It's scary out there! Man. We will see what happens. I didn't tell anyone from the ward goodbye because I've done that the past 2 transfers and I've ended up staying, so I think I've cried wolf a little too much. We'll see. I am fine either way. I mean you have to be, because I'm really not in control anyway! The Lord knows what needs to happen.

I really do believe that, though. That the Lord is in control. Sis Chen asked me what I have learned the most on my mission and I think that that is probably the biggest thing that I have learned. That the Lord is in charge and He knows what is best. I really haven't understood a lot of the situations I have been in at all. But I do understand that the Lord understands and that eventually I will understand. "Sometime, we'll understand ", right? I am so grateful that the Lord is in control, because really, if I was in control, this place would be in a whole lot of trouble. We have a loving Heavenly Father who knows exactly what we need, when we need it, and how painful it might be. But it's all for our own benefit. I truly do believe that.

The Visitors Center is a happenin place! Hooray! It's Christmas time! 20 days! I have a countdown in our apt on the adorable chalk board my Sis made for me and I write the countdown everyday on the board at the VC and Sis Macdonald erases it everyday. And then I write it again. Haha. I am my Mothers daughter I suppose. The Christmas season really is amazing as a missionary. People are bringing their friends to the VC and there are concerts every night. Its a blast and my feet hurt really bad every night. Thats a good feeling.

So in my book of mormon reading in Spanish, I've learned a lot. The words I know really stand out to me. Like repentance. "Arrepintirse". The Book of Mormon talks a LOT about that principle, if you haven't noticed. I used to look at it as a really scary thing. Like thinking that a need for repentance means there was something done wrong. And thats bad, right? But now, I look at repentance as such a joyful thing. It's change. It's growth. It's alligning ourselves with God just a little bit more than before. Sometimes change is hard for people to adjust to, and it's totally understandable. But it's what this life really is all about! "Preparing to meet God" like it says in Alma. (Paraphrased). And unless one is completely prepared from the time they enter the earth, they must need to change and prepare more. And that is what repentance is. Recognizing something, through the Holy Ghost, that you can change, and then doing it. And knowing, when you do it, that God was totally pleased with your decision. It's a good feeling.

Our people are doing well. We have a new person! A new investigator! And she lives in West Hollywood, which, if you haven't been there... Oh my... what a place. Anyway. We will call her Georgia. Georgia is awesome and has read the entire Gospel Principles book. Her parents have met with missionaries for years in the south and they LOVE the Mormons. Our lesson was awesome. She said she would consider baptism. That was a good feeling.

I think that is all for today....

Oh one more thing. I love you all so much. I love your support and frienship. I am trying to find everything I can to be more obedient because I need Gods help! So if you would send me actual letters at 1591 E. Temple Way and not e-mail me on here, that would be great :) Just something I thought I could change and do better at! I love youuuuuuuuuuuu. Send me letters. It's embarrassing these days cause I don't get much mail anymore hahah.... as was bound to happen.... but I understand. I'll see you all soon anyways! Scary.

Sista Brink

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gonna Be Short

I'm not sure where my time went today... SO I'm just gonna send some pictures and a little udpate!

Things are looking up for Bel Air. we hav APPOINTMENTS this week! Can you believe it?! I kind of can't... super grateful.

Sister Pinto is no longer with us :( There was a sick sister living in an apt far away from the temple and so they brought her back here to be in a trio and sis pinto bean went with her companion Sister Thompson in Santa Monica. We miss our little bean, but we are getting by without her!

Thanksgiving was awesome. We did service for Homeless people in Santa Monica. It was an incredible event. And then we had lunch with the Crowes (Ok, I can't remember what you wanted me to call you, Steve... Crowe wil have to do!). They are seriously the biggest blessing for us! WE LOVE YOU GUYS! YOU ARE THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD! they even gave me a birthday present. AND we had pazzokie for dinner! Anna was sneaky and found out that that is my favorite treat. She is the greatest. And their baby is seriously adorable. See picture.

Thank for all for the birthday shout outs and what not! You are all just thebest.


RWLJ came on Thanksgiving. We exchanged "Happy Anniversary" cards because we met at the VC one year ago on Thanksgiving. Haha. Loved it.

we love Abuelita, the hot chocolate. I thought I looked like her, so we took a picture. I'm a dork.

Listen, everybody. The Gospel is true okay!? ITS TRUE! I love it so much.

Love you all
Sista Brink

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Golden One.

Yep, the Golden One is happening this week. The Golden Birthday. Well I dont feel so Golden about being Golden. 24 on the 24th. I AM GOING TO BE 24! That seriously makes me sick. Some of these missionaries graduated in 2011! OH MY GOSH! Disgusting. Seriously disgusting. But you know what? Life goes on. So I am getting some grey hairs. So I maybe have some wrinklkes starting to emerge around my eyes. The Gospel is true, and thats all that matters. (But seriously can someone please get me some seriously good eye cream? And maybe a cane?)

And the lessons keep being learned. That's what this is all about, right? I am so grateful that the Lord is in charge, that He knows what is going on. I had a really good moment during the sacrament yesterday. This is what I wrote down:"I am sitting here at the Westwood building in the lobby waiting for the sacrament thinking about how grateful I am to be a missionary and more especially how grateful I am for the SAvior and for his sacrifice for me. I am also thinking about trusting in God and how I can do that more. I think that trusting in God is not stressing out about things when they don't go my way, but relying on Him and the plan He has. He is the one in charge. It's not about will power, strength, skill or talent. It's about trust. Letting it go and giving it to God." Kind of a little personal revelation. Something I really need to learn. I realized that I need to learn to trust the Lord more. Not just to rely on Him and to try and do what he wants me to do, but to trust him. And I believe that trusting the Lord means letting him take away worry, stress, or any negative thoughts because if we trust him, we know that those things really do us no good. When we trust the Lord, we rely on the promises He has given us and we do all that we can to be worthy of those promises and then we keep going. And then keep going some more. There's my little Lesson Learned from LA today.
We had a pretty amazing miracle at the Visitors Center. A few weeks ago we met a guy at the Visitors Center.. We will call him M.  We talked with him for a long time and he was really sad and angry, you could see it in his eyes. He was there with a member, and we talked for a long time. M was really closed off at first and wouldn't look at us or smile. Eventually, he opened up and told us about some things going on his life that have caused him to really question the reality of God. His stories really brought tears to my eyes. We read from the Book of Mormon together, talked for a long time, and invited him to not give up, and to read the Book of Mormon, and he agreed to allow us to follow up with him. By the time he left the center, he had a smile on his face. We followed up with him, and a few days ago, he told us that he is getting baptized, that he has been reading the Book of Mormon everyday and that he is HAPPY! And coming from this kid, that is a lot. Such a neat experience. The Lord really is so aware of every one of his children.
Another miracle happened. A former member of the UCLA ward who I just love brought in her 2 friends to the Visitors Center. She has been away at BYU and came back for a visit and felt prompted to bring them in on their way back to the apartment, mostly just wanting to say hello to me. Well, we took them all 3 into Savior of the World and found out that one of them was really struggling to believe in anything right now, but loved the way her member friend had faith. And let me tell you, this member is incredible. She has been such a wonderful influence on everyone, including me. She was in the UCLA ward last year and she was just a gem. I love her! Eventually, her friend was crying and saying that she wanted to have faith. We talked about belief, read from the Book of Mormon, and testified. She agreed to meet with us, and so did the other friend. The spirit was so strong and I know that everything worked out perfectly for that to happen. We weren't even supposed to be working that night, but had switched a few weeks ago. How amazing!
We had a good lesson with Bro Simpson last night... he really is starting to be more and more open, I feel. He now says things like "When I get baptized" not "If I get baptized", but he still is very sensitive about it and does not want pressure, so we are honoring that.
Most of our other new investigators that we have found have not continued to want to meet. But that is OK because the Lord knows what is going on and what things need to happen.

We had an amazing couple of trainings this week from Bro. Lusvardi who is over all of the Visitors Centers and Sister Cottam who also works with all the sites. It really was incredibly amazing. With Sis Cottam, we talked about having balance through the Savior Jesus Christ, something that I think takes a lifetime to learn but is sooo important. I gained a lot of perspective, mostly about the seriousness of our work at the Visitors Center. It really is a place of miracles and I am so grateful to be a Visitors Center missionary. Some people think that VC sisters are weak, that we can't do "real" missionary work. If you think this way, lets chat... Because you are wrong. These sisters here are strong and understand the Gospel and the importance of sharing it with our friends. I have a lot to learn from all of the missionaries at the Visitors Center. I am really grateful I have been able to serve here, and to be a trainer here for the last 3 transfers.

My Mom is apparently on the countdown. That kind of makes me sick to my stomache....

But speaking of countdowns, there are 34 days til Christmas! I remind everyone everyday. It's a special day! Especially as a missionary. I will have had 2 Christmases, 2 Birthdays, 2 New Years, 2 thanksgivings as a missionary. I love it. I don't love that I turn 24 in 3 days, but whatevs. It is what it is.Be with it as you may. I'm still a Child of God. Even if I have wrinkles and grey hairs.

I love being a missionary. Thats all. I love these people, I love the Visitors Center, and while I do love all of you veryvery much, I think I will stay here for a little while longer.

xoxoxoxo hope everyone has a wonderful thanksgiving! Mom-I am very grateful for YOU!

Sista Brink

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's over. Hallelujah!

Finally. The Talent Show is over! The last 3 months getting that thing rolling has taken quite a toll on me, but it what awesome!

We had quite a few non-members there. Not as many as we hoped caught the vision, but they did come and were excited about something, which hasn't happened for a long time in this ward. The only activities they have are the Christmas party each year, so it was fun to see people actually mingle and get to know each other. It was a really fun evening and we learned a lot for what the ward could do next time if they continue to do things like this (which they should). You better believe that I taught some deacons a lip sink number to N'Sync and they were AWESOME! And then the Elders Qurorum broke out of their shells and did a seriously hilarious skit of synchronized swimming. I was dying laughing. So was everyone else, I thought some of the oldies were going to have a heart attack. Sis Seagull and I sang "When you Believe" and Moffat was our dashing MC. I owe him so huge. There was a magic show, some harmonicas and guitars, a pokemon song (you better believe it) and it was just really a fun evening. A few part-member families, and inactive families came as well. And there were some seriously delicious chocolate truffles that made my night a little better and a little worse at the same time. My lovely Deanne was there, a former investigator who I know was my lovely friend in the pre-existence and who I will be in touch with forever. And I will sing at her baptism. Even if I am 35 with 5 kids (5 is a little much...). Anyway, just glad it went well and that it is over. I think it will be a night that most will remember for a looooong time. It will go down in WW 1st ward history!

We had Zone Conference this week and it. was. incredible. It's so interesting how these things roll around RIGHT when you need it. Like General Conference. It always seems to come when you seriously just need a huge glass of spiritual guidance. Adn then you just chug and chug and chug until you just want to sleep. But then you can't sleep because you need to go to work. I will be able to sleep soon enough, for now, it's working time. I have dreams about sleeping. Last Sunday was daylight savings so we were going to get an extra hour of sleep. I had seriously been counting down the days for it and was SO excited for an EXTRA HOUR OF SLEEP! I was so excited that I couldn't sleep. Haha. Of course. I kept thinking "this is so cool that I can say I slept for 9 hours instead of 8" that I never really got tired and then didn't really sleep at all. Hahahaha. Typical me.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with Zone Conference. The theme was the Doctrine of Christ. Pres. Baker is incredible and just said all the right things that I needed to hear. He talked a lot about enduring well, and not comparing yourself to other missionaries. Why do we do that? Why do we feel the need to base our personal acceptance or progression on the success of someone else, who then compares theirs to someone else? It's a really weird trap. And it's really unhealthy on the mind. I am going to try and be better about just worrying about what I am doing, how I feel at the end of the day, and my progression and work, rather than thinking "Man. She's had like a thousand baptisms. What am I doing wrong?" It's a slippery slope.  I don't have my Zone Conf. notes with me unfortunately because there really were some serious gems. But they were probably just gems for me and wouldn't mean anything to you. And so it is. We did get another Book of Mormon challenge though to read the entire thing by Jan 1st. I'm doing it in Spanish. Eeeek! I love it though. I really love Spanish a lot.

So sister green and I have a problem. We fight. Like literally. Not in a serious way, but we brawl in our apartment and it is hilarious. She is feisty and is the only one who gives me a good fight in an arm wrestle. So last night, we were wrestling and my nail literally broke into her skin. It was SO funny. And painful for her, but I broke my nail! Hahaha. I love Sis Green so much. We have had some of the most amazing talks of my mission.... she is incredible.

well, I am going to head out.

I love you all. Send me letters.

Love-Sista Brink

Monday, November 7, 2011

It was destined to happen.

So. I'm not going to really write a super big thing today because I have other things I need to take care of... Gonna be a bullet-point style today.

- we went to UCLA campus today and walked around (I had been around, never ON campus). I have never felt like such a small fish in a big pond. And it was scary. I probably will throw up my first day back at BYU. And all of those people get me! (Sort of)
- K didn't turn out like we thought. The concept of ONE God is very new, so its totally understandable that she felt a little overwhelmed and needed some time to ponder. But the lesson was amazing, the spirit was strong, and she is an absolutely incredible person.
-Did lots of finding. Had a neat experience trying to follow the spirit. It was like 8:30 and so we only had a few minutes. We stopped this girl on the street over by UCLA and she was from Brazil, here for a short study thing. She said she would be interested in having the missionaries in Brazil. So we got all her info of course, but then when she walked away the Spirit said "STOP HER!" So I quickly said "Can we teach you until you go back?" She said, Yeah! So we are meeting her tomorrow :) She is beautiful. Beautiful Brazilian.
-So maybe we finally got the courage to talk to a VIP in our ward. And maybe she wants us to come over for dinner. And maybe she has a referral for us... Pretty exciting. She seriously is beautiful and stunning and very humble.
-I bore my testimony in relief society yesterday all about my Mom and how she taught me the importance of loving people. Loving them regardless of who they are, what they look like, etc. It was very needed for me to express my gratitude for my Momma. Momma- you are amazing!
-We have a tender mercy family in the ward. We will call them the Seagull family (I hope you know who you are). They are seriously such a huge blessing to me. Sis Seagull is my sister and I don't know what I would have done without her these last few weeks. They have been so wonderful to us and always seem to say things at dinner that we totally need to hear. The other night, the subject was "Don't worry. Enjoy your mission and don't sweat the small stuff. Love people, and thats all that matters." That was a bit of a Neon Sign for me, if you know what I mean.
-Jenn Johnson. I. Love. You. Thank you for being here at the right time. You are such a blessing in my life. Thank you for... Everything.
-Sis Green is such a blast. we are having such a fun time.
-I am grateful to be a missionary. So. Grateful.

Love you all. PS you are all getting bad at writing. Come on! I still have a looooooooong time! I need letters :)
Sista Brink

Monday, October 31, 2011

And my New Area Is....


Yes. I am still here. Yes. This is transfer #6. Yes that means that by the end of this transfer I will have spent half of my mission in the same area. Yes. That means I have still never moved apartments. Yes. That means I am still in Bel Air. Do you understand?! STILL IN BEL AIR! Unreal. Awesome. Crazy. And slightly ridiculous. I am super happy about it.

I was prety shocked, of course. But at the same time I had a pretty distinct feeling on Monday of last week that I was staying. So when they announced it Tuesday morning I was pretty OK with it. I still have my Pinto Bean. But we have a new pea to our pod, Sister Green. Yep, another trio. I was in a trio close to this time last year, too. Trios are funny. Our room is basically a bunk bed, another bed, and a desk. And a kitchen. We are having a good time. Sister Green...She is INCREDIBLE. We are super good friends all ready so we are having a blast. We wrestle a lot and just laugh and have fun. She is an awesome missionary and really ready to work. Being in a trio is always an interesting dynamic, but there is definitely a reason that we are all three together. Sister Green is seriously such a tender mercy for me, I haven't laughed as much as I have the last 5 days for a loooooong time. It's super fun. Sis Pinto mostly laughs at us or looks at us weird or takes pictures (like the other day when Sis Green and I played Bear, Ninja, Hunter to settle a dispute about who would make a very important and scary phone call) and thinks we are crazy. It's pretty hilarious.

Bro Simpson- We had one of the best lessons that we have ever had with him this week. The spirit was really strong and he was more responsive than he has been in a little while, so that is really good. He didn't come to church but that is ok, he will be there next week! I love moments, in lessons like those, where you just think "This is why I am here." As small of a miracle it may seem, they add up to make it one big giant cause that is so worth being on.

(Mom- Sis Pinto just got handed her package, and she was really grateful for it. The look on her face... Thank you. You are so sweet, Mom, thank you for sending it to her!)

Anastasia- She is hit or miss. Sometimes she will meet with us, sometimes she won't. When she does, she accepts the things we say and answers the questions and it seems that she is progressing. And then she won't meet with us for a week or so. But she will slowly progress, I believe.
We have a new investigator, a referral from a UCLA ward member. We'll call her K. Her name is MUCH more complicated than that. Ha.  and we are meeting with her tomorrow and are so excited about it! She seems really amazing from what we can tell via the phone.

We have set some great goals for this transfer and I am super excited about it... Our vision of the Area is for reals good, now we just gotta get to work to see those things come to pass. I am so grateful to have another opportunity to learn and grow in Bel Air. Apparently I haven't learned what I was supposed to learn just yet... Welp, I've got at least 5 more weeks to figure it out!

The Talent Show is falling into place, thank heavens, and it seems that there are a lot of members inviting their friends. We still have a lot to do but that is ok! It will all work out.

I had an amazing talk with my mission president today. It was a really amazing experience because I KNEW that he is called of God and that he has been given the keys necessary to lead all of us 200 missionaries. I was so grateful for the counsel he gave and for the spirit that I felt while talking with him. He is an amazing man and I am so grateful for his leadership.

One cool thing about being a missionary in LA. Yesterday we talked with a guy from Chech Republic, a family from Kuwait who was here for a kidney transplant for their adorable son, a woman from Mexico, 2 men from Italy, and a few people from Switzerland. All within like 30 minutes of each other. A lot of these people had never heard of the Church before. Sometimes I have to really look at every single one of those moments and see that we are planting a seed that might not have been planted had we not stopped these people to talk to them. Pretty incredible.

The UCLA sacrament meeting yesterday was Missionary hour. All of the 7 missionaries in the ward participated, sharing a testimony and introducing themselves. I got out of it by singing instead :) I sang "I know that my redeemer lives" (which, the accompianist says, while we were practicing, "I love Rob Gardner music..." and I say "He's my friend!" And he says "WHAT?! YOU KNOW ROB GARDNER!" Bahahahahah. If everyone could only see the REAL Rob. Only kidding, You are the best, Rob. I'm priveleged to know you :) and while I was singing, I had this thought "I really do know these things..." It was nice. I love bearing my testimony through song. I really do.

Thank you all for your prayers and love. Even though some of you illegally call the Visitors Center to tell me Happy Halloween, I still love you. (You know who you are :) I have the best friends in the world. Even if you make the other sisters judge me when they are all standing around the desk when I answer the phone and it's someone on the other line that I should NOT be talking to. I love you anyways. :) Thank you for your support and for helping me keep going. You are all the bestest.

Hasta Luego.
Sista Brink

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nephi and Me

Things are going well... We are starting to find some potentials which is really great!  People are accepting return appointments, now we gotta have faith that they will keep them! We found a few new investigators this week which is really great and exciting. This is our finding miracle this week: On Saturday night, we went into the area at 7 or so after having a couple lessons and dinner. It was really the only hour and a half of finding that we had had all week, and we wouldn't have any time on Sunday either. We had set a goal to find 3 new investigators this week and had only found 1. So, we prayed before we got out of the car and said "Heavenly Father. We will talk to everyone, please help us find 2 new investigators". And we did! The Lord provided! It was incredible. One of them has a friend on a mission and has never read the Book of Mormon, claims to be atheist, but agreed to read the Book of Mormon. The other was raised very strong lutheran, and had never heard of the Book of Mormon. She seemed very excited for us to come back. Both were girls we just stopped on the street to talk to. We promised the Lord we would DO something. That doing was showing our faith. It really is a pattern that I am learning to apply more and more. Pray, Have faith, Go and Do, let the Lord provide. (Of course this is not always a perfect formula, but our faith and doing will never ever ever go in vain!)

So we are planning a Talent Show for the ward, as you know. It's been really interesting to get it all going. The Talent Show is going forward, still trying to get everyone pumped and excited about it. I think it will be a success. Even if one non member comes and has a good experience, it would have been worth it.
Usually I have an inkling about what will happen at transfers, which are on Wednesday. I have zero inklings. Just ready to do what the Lord wants me to do. (Total primary answer, I know. Of course I do have MY wants in mind, but I am trying to trust the Lord and the plan He has for my mission) I will miss my little Sis Pinto, I really do love her very much and she has taught me so many things. I think a change might be hard for her, but also really good. I really do wish she could see how amazing she is. I have very mixed feelings for the possiblities of this transfer. But at the end of the day, I know that wherever I get sent or if I stay is where the Lord wants me to be.

Bro Simpson is not really progressing anymore. He just has a wall and we aren't sure how to help it come down and see what his real concerns are. I am at a loss with him right now. I think that is probably becasue he is just not ready yet.
Anastasia seems to be progressing, althought sometimes I wonder if she tells us what we want to hear or if she is actually feeling that way. I'm not sure why it would be the former, but she does come to church and agreed to start meeting again so hopefully she will begin to progress. We met this week and watched "FInding Faith in Christ". She cried during it and the Spirit was really really strong. We were on shift, though and Elder Macdonald pulled me out of the lesson to do some music things, but what I hear from Sis Pinto Bean and the member that was there, she was really touched by the movie. She is an incredible person and I really love her.

Yesterday was a miracle. We were supposed to go to a fireside with Anastasia for all of the departing missionaries, but she was sick and I was SOOOO bummed ebcause I was really looking forward to going. But we were able to see someone else from the ward that we have been trying to get a hold of for a really long time. Turns out, she was really struggling and needed us last night. We were able to go visit her and talk and I realized last night how much I love this woman! The Spirit was so strong and she sobbed. I sang "Come thou Fount' for her on her gorgeous piano. It was a really neat expereince and made me realize that God really is in charge. Trust Him!
I learned a good lesson this week from reading 2 nephi 4. Nephi says something to the effect of "Even though I have seen many witnesses and know these things are true, I still sin, but I want to give up my desire for sin completely!" And then he prays for that immensely. It was a good lesson because I realized that sometimes I think about things like that. Even Nephi had to repent and had to get back up again, so it is ok that I have to do the same, even though I have received countless witnesses of this or that, I still will make mistakes, because I am not perfect. That was a little tender mercy for me to realize that it is OK to make mistakes, as long as I try again. Maybe a little harder the next time...

Have to explain the pictures:

Sis Bodily HATES when I try to give her loves, so of course I always do and we got some good pictures of her response. hahaha. I love my little hija!

Sista Brink

Trying to get a decent picture. Bye Elder Bennett! You are the best!
 Bye Elder Kenny!!!! You will be missed!

Monday, October 17, 2011


This time is always a bit interesting... its the end of a transfer, we have one week to go,  and you start to thinka bout what could happen. I know it really probably doesn't matter what I think... it's really up to President Baker and the Lord of course, but I will say that I have loved my time in Bel Air. If I need to do more time here, so be it! If I am off to a new area, so be it! There are several reasons why I would want to stay, and feel like I would need to stay... the biggest being to help organize the Talent Show for the WW 1st ward as the ward council is VERY concerned about the "production" of the whole thing. I know someone else would do fine, of course. It's just that I have been there the whole time working on putting it together etc. I do feel somewhat at a loss for how to progress in this area. You know, sometimes you just need something new. It's like when you've been wearing the same things over and over and you've tried every sort of variation on the same things, but really, you just nee a new scarf to put it all together. In fact, we are going with Sis Ashby and Franks to dinner today. Maybe we will have to stop in to H and M and get me a new scarf. Good idea. I told the sisters I would take them for "Dinner on Dar" (the spanish sisters got really confused... Dar means "to give" which actually fits my mother perfectly! She is the most giving person I know) because Sis Ashby did me a huge favor and got rid of my mullet cause she does hair. Wow, I am ADD today. (Linz... I'm turning into you). Anyways. I definitely feel like the experiences I have had here in Bel Air have really shaped me. They have made me think and learn and grow in really painful ways, but wonderful ways. There are so many wonderful people that I have learned from in this area. I feel like I have learned to have charity (of course completely not perfectly) and to love people for who they are. I do think that I am sort of at a progressional halt. Like I am not sure how to continue to progress in an area that I have all ready had SO much progression and learned so much. Maybe it's time for a new experience. However, if I stay, I'm know the Lord would show me what I needed to do!

We are working with Anastasia again! She is for the UCLA ward. She is back, after needing a "break", and she came to church yesterday! Great news. I think she will really start progressing. The ward has a lot of young people her age who I think will do a great job at fellowshipping her. I love the UCLA ward very much! Most of our time lately has been spent finding for the UCLA ward, and then working with members for the Talent Show for WW 1st. We have found a couple new investigators...We will them Mickey and Minnie. They were OLLLLLD referrals, from before my time,  that never made it to the book and we found them through the referral manager, and called them. They are very skeptical, have read a lot of anti literature, but they are willing to read and pray. Alexandra is very interesting, has a lot of questions about the validity of the Book of Mormon, but also doesn't know how to recognize an answer from God. So we are trying to focus on not just answering all of her questions, but helping her to discover things for herself. The spirit has been super duper strong in both times we have visited them (they are roomates) and I KNOW they are feeling it, but they really don't want to accept another book of scripture.

Which brings me to a thought. Do we realize how much it makes sense that we have the Book of Mormon? I am dead serious in saying that the Book of Mormon is remarkable and completely logical. I have learned many many thins about the B of M and I know this book is true! During one of our lessons, Mickey asked me : "If there was a credible source, let's say the Smithsonian, that came out with a research article or something proving the Book of Mormon to be false, would you deny it?" NO! I WOULD NOT!  She seemed kind of shocked. I learned some interesting things this week too... Interesting things from a Visitor who we had a lot of common contacts and things. From the things I learned from her, I decided something. I never have to do _____ becuase I know the Book of Mormon is true. A Lot of things can go into that blank. For example, I never have to doubt myself becasue the Book of Mormon is true. I never have to be hard on myself, I never have to question Gods validity or reality, I never have to do things that I know are wrong, I never have to fall into traps... All of these things that I fear, I don't need to fear because of my testimony of the Book of Mormon. This is fa reals. I love the Book of Mormon. Kenz and Jaid: WAY TO GO! Keep reading it! I'm so proud of you two! I have the best nieces and nephews in the entire world.

Granny G... Love her. She is such a funny lady. Not feeling to good, but she seems to be happier than before. I wish so badly I could just maker her life happier. I used my Mom as a great example when we visited her the other day. She was complaining about things (and yes, she has some legit things to be complaining about), but I realized that if this woman does not change something, she is going to live the rest of her life in misery! For reals! She is going to wither away on her couch and die. So I said "Gianna I want to tell you something about my Mom. My Mom has lived a really hard life and she has been through a lot. Really hard things. And yet, you know what she does? She does everything for everyone else..." Gianna said "What does she do?" And trying to think of good examples that wouldn't make her feel like she had something grand to live up to (which would totally happen because the things my Mom does are just incredible) I said "Well she invites all the kids over for stories. And pizza" And I of course listed some other things also... And then Gianna called us yesterday and said "I wanna have you sisters over for pizza" Hahahaha. So sweet. So we will be having pizza with Gianna on Thursday. She is trying to change and do good things. Sweetie. Thanks Mom for being a wonderful example.

Sis Pinto is so funny. She is stressing out about not being companions, so she just hugs me all day long and says "Seeester...." but then nothing else. She looks at me with sad eyes. It's really interesting because really sis Pinto bean and I can hardly communicate. With my sort-of Spanish and her sort-of English we have gotten by. But we have communicated so much in other ways. I have learned so much from that little thin.

Bro Simpson is... Not sure... he just has some serious road blocks and we are not sure what they are or how to get through them.

I think this is long enough for today. Thank you all for your love, support, frienship yatta yatta yatta. Wah Wah Wah, right? You are wonderful.

-Sista Brink

PS including some pictures....

Me and Sis Pinto Bean after a hike that I forced her to do with all of us. Hahah!

The Westwood Zone!!! At the Observatory

Elder Jacobberger in a giant Book of Mormon. HILARIOUS! Sis Rose, that is your Son... be so proud. It was a training, and it was AWESOME. Really amazing. Those Elders... Man they are the best.

Tour with Elders and their invesigator. It was an amazing experience. She is a wonderful person!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I love to see the temple.

I went there today! Let me tell you something. I love the temple. So. Much. It really is the best place. The only bad part about temple Preparation Day (the pday that we go to the temple) is that we have to wake up at 5:30. And seriously that ONE hour throws me off so badly. I can't pretend to be a morning person. I have slept past 6:30 one time in the last year and only because I was sick, and I have done that ONLY because God told me to through a little book called the Missionary Handbook. When I get home, 6:30 will not be my rising time. At all. I wish I could pretend it will be. But nope. Anyways, the temple was really amazing. I am so grateful for the peace I can feel there. People ask us questions about the temple all the time, and while we don't say TOO much, I love testifying of the peace and serenity I feel while in the temple. I know it is truly the house of the Lord.

I think this has been just a really interesting transfer, for a lot of missionaries... A lot of the sisters seem to be really ready for the transfer to come, including me. But I am trying to not "wait for the golden ticket" and be happy and excited about each day. It's working for the most part! I am taking it one day at a time. My mission president encouraged me to really keep a miracle log... I write one a day all ready but I need to do more with it... I will let ya know how it goes.

We had a mini missionary again this last weekend. It was way fun. She was a doll and we really had some miraculous experiences with her. Some very frustrating experiences like being thrown off of a premises in West Hollywood. Good times. BUt over all, she loved it and was a great missionary.

FINDING! It's going better. Calling a bunch of old referrals, and have had some pretty hilarious chats with some people. A lot of them have moved, but we have gotten 2 new investigators kist from calling someone who at one point requested a DVD or a Book of Mormon. So thats good! Hopefully they will follow through. Faith and prayer!

I really just don't feel like writing much today. And most of my time was my letter to the mission president.... So I'm just gonna send some pictures and wrap it up today.

My pictures:
Sisters in front of the temple!
Mini Missionary!
This is what happens to my hair after the shift when I am putting numbers into the computer and Sis Franks rubs my head. Love it.

Sista Brink

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Conference Theme: Focus on the Important Things

I felt that a general theme for me during Conference was to really focus on the important things. Obviously on my mission, that is easier than maybe after, but it still is hard. And I TRULY believe that this experience is preparing me for the future, especially in being prepared to prioritize my life and strive to do what the Lord wants of me. I thought about putting the Lord first in everything, about always reading the Book of Mormon (forever. I'm serious, I never want to go a day again without reading in the Book of Mormon. It's important. If you didn't get that vibe from conference, watch it again), preparing and being a good mother, learning to be guided by the Spirit (a frustrating process as you will see later), learning to understand the Atonement more and more etc etc... I understand more and more everyday how this experience as a missionary is preparing me to be a Wife and mother someday. I want to be a great Mom. My Mom is the best, so hopefully if I just inherited all of her great qualities I will be just fine. It really was an amazing conference and, watching it with missionary eyes, I felt like a lot of it could have been geared for non members. It's amazing how many people are fascinated by who we are. I mean, it's not SUPER amazing if you understand that the Book of Mormon is true and prophesied of this thousands of years ago... The Book of Mormon is true. I love it. I love that my fam is reading it until I come home! Way to go everyone. You rock. I loved the "waiting on the Lord" talk too. (Court... of course you did :) I just really appreciated so many of the messages and am so grateful that we know we have a prophet. It was funny, after conference, we went out to Westwood (a little city-ish place in our area) where everyone is just hustling bustling around and I thought "None of those people know..." and that is really sad. WE GOTTA TELL THEM!

I wish I had something miraculous to report on. Nothing really has changed very much. Finding, finding and finding.

You hear about stories where missionaries felt the Spirit tell them something like "Knock on THAT door" or "the next house we knock will be a new investigator" or things like that. I felt so strongly for a while that we should visit this family from the Potentials in the Area Book. Their name literally has been on my mind since I moved into the area and saw their name in the book. We tried several times, they were never home. One time, we talked to their housekeeper and she let us use the bathroom and I saw a picture of the family and I thought "that is a family that will join the church someday". We didn't go back for a really long time and then a few days ago, I felt strongly to visit them again. So yesterday, we went. A woman answered the door who didn't look like the woman in the family pictures I had seen, and she said "We are atheist" and quickly shut the door. It kind of broke my heart. But maybe they moved, and they will still be baptized. And I will see them in the afterlife and say "YOU! I KNEW YOU WOULD GET BAPTIZED!" Sometimes I really do wonder if I am able to pray and receive answers. I mean, I hate to even say that because I KNOW I can because I have received answers for things before my mission ( I mean obviously I am here, that was a BIG answer to get) but on my mission I feel like I have tried to listen to the Spirit to find the elect. I know that we have in the past, that there have been people guided to us or us to them, but right now it doesn't seem to be happening. I know it is Satan getting me discouraged, but when you feel something that you THINK is the spirit prompt you to do something, and then it doesn't even feel at all what you thought it would, you begin to wonder. I think this has been the hardest month or so of my mission. I know it is good, I know we can improve, I know there are people out there. I am just struggling to know how we can receive the revelation we need to find them.
Conference really helped me in so many ways. I love the Lord. So much. And I love being a missionary. When person after person says "No", I really do think about the Savior. I think my perspective has changed from being sad that they rejected ME to being sad they rejected an opportunity to know our Savior. And that is WAY more sad than them rejecting me. It is sometimes hard to see the work we are doing being anything productive.

Granny G is still really struggling, but I think she is better than before. We finally got to see her yesterday and it was actually a huge miracle and answer to a prayer. (See I DO know, but its just hard to recognize sometimes!)  But she did watch conference a little which is great. Hopefully she will come to the recent convert meeting at stake conference next week.

Bro Simpson is sort-of progressing. He came to church and watched a bit of conference, but he still just won't open the doors... Hopefully soon.

I think that is all. Sis Pinto-bean and I are doing great, learning, truckin along, practicing English, boosting each other up when one of us is discouraged.

I'm sorry that my e-mails have been slightly grim, just bein

I love you all. Thank you for the encouragement, the e-mails, the letters, the goodies, the prayers. You are all wonderful!! I'm the luckiest.

I know this is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. With everything that I am.

Sista Brink

Monday, September 26, 2011

and then the mornings were dark

When the morning is dark still at 6:15 when we wake up, it is IMPOSSIBLE! Seriously! And it will be this way until daylight savings. Which will be a glorious day because we get an extra hour of sleep. Oh the blessing of sleep. Hopefully that one extra hour will tide me over for a few more months until I can go down to my dark, cold basement with my warm, huge, comfy bed. And sleep. For days. Thinking about it makes me drool. I will say, though, I am pretty lucky because I do have a very comfortable bed here. And I've never moved apartments my whole mission besides moving from the MTC here. Count my many blessings. There's one.

Whew. Another week.
I have to be honest. This has been the hardest couple of weeks of my entire mission. Sometimes, I really do just feel completely incapable, and these last few weeks were really trying. I wish everyone could experience being a missionary in Beverly Hills. It is the most humbling experience of my entire life. Sometimes people just stare at us when we knock on their door and I think they are going to burn my forehead with their eyes. Or put a hole through my tag with their laser beams coming out of their pupils.  I  am trying to rely on the Atonement, and I feel like I am starting to glimpse at what that actually means, but when it comes down to it, it breaks my heart that person after person tells us that we are wrong, crazy, and brain washed. At the end of a day, I just want to cry because I just want to do missionary work. I want to do what the Lord wants me to do. And if that means just talking to people and giving them an opportunity to feel the spirit for a second, so be it. But it is still a hard thing when our real purpose is to prepare people for baptism. I need to have more faith. I realized something this last week and that was that my need for validation is a representation that I don't trust in the Lord enough. I don't trust that he is proud of me or happy with my work, so sometimes I feel like I NEED someone to tell me. But that is really silly. Because I do know that the Lord loves me and is glad I am serving a mission. I really am doing the very best I know how, and I know the Lord is aware of us over here in Bel Air. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm fine. It's just that I am a representative of Jesus Christ. That is a lofty task. I'm also very imperfect and a little OCD. Also a lofty task. I think my desire to share this wonderful Gospel has increased substantially since I have been here, and because of that increase, my sensitivity about those who reject it has increased also. So, while I have a much stronger testimony, I also cry a lot more because I want to share this with others so badly and just want to grab them by their very expensive face and say "LISTEN TO ME! THIS IS REAL! I PROMISE THERE IS MORE TO YOUR LIFE THAN WHAT YOU THINK!" The Book of Mormon has perfectly illustrated stories about the kinds of experiences I have had and the kinds of people I have been able to serve here. I am trying to be more like those missionaries. For a detailed description, read the Book of Mormon. You all ready should be anyway! It is really cool though because all of the missionaries in the Book of Mormon have different missionaries with completely different kinds of experiences, people, situations, trials, etc. And that is exactly how it is here... We all in our different areas experience completely different things, so really, trying to compare is completely silly. I am grateful for the experience I am having.Pushing forward...

We have met a lot of students lately, who say they want to learn more, and then stand us up. That is the worst feeling ever. Because you get SO excited, and you KNOW that this one is going to be ready... And then they choose to not go forward. We are trying to find the elect... I know they are out there. We just gotta be patient and find them. Man that patient thing has been a pattern for me... Maybe I should work on it... It's definitely gotten better. I think.

 A glimpse of hope was that Bro Simpson came to church yesterday. What a wonderful blessing. We really hope he will begin to progress more. We weren't able to meet with them this week unfortunately. I was sitting there at church, waiting for Sacrament to start, and I see little Shirley Temple running over to me screaming "SISTERS!" And it seriously just melted my heart. And then Bro Simpson came around the corner which of course melted me a little more. The Lord really is so good. That was a much-needed tender mercy after a week of hope-thrashing experiences. But that is the remarkable thing, the Lord never ever ever lets us go uncared for... He sometimes lets us struggle, so that we can be stronger, and then to see the blessings that he has provided so that we can KNOW and RELY on His help. It is wonderful.

Dear Courtney: OMgosh! Dying a little. Maybe I'm SO excited, and will probably hold my breath until your next letter. Also, the recording made my week last week. I forgot to mention it, not sure how, but I seriously needed that so badly. And of course I listened to the whole thing. Mostly while sis Pinto bean tried to pick out some shoes at payless. Which took a while. It was hilarious on so many levels. This comment is for anyone: Never ever think that I don't like to hear about the "mundane" things! I love it! I love the little details. And it really doesn't distract me. If anything, it helps me remember that things are still somewhat normal even after all of this crazy-time as a missionary. Thank you for sending it, Court. And everyone else who recorded on it, thanks!!! Love you all.

Lauren: Loved hearing from you! I need your address :) xoxo

Moffat said something in his testimony at church yesterday that I really loved, and that I think I needed to hear. He said "Repentance is sometimes just letting go." I really do need to learn to let go and let Christ take care of some things. I'm such a micro-manager. Which is good for some things, and horrible for others. I am definitely working on that one... I think I have changed a lot in the craziness factor. That's the hope anyway.

Allrighty well that's enough of my rambling. I am grateful for this work. I know it is the Lord's work and I really do want to do all I can. I love my Savior Jesus Christ with everything that I am.

Sista Brink

Monday, September 19, 2011

I never saw that movie.... but I imagine it was probably a lot like this week.

We really did have a series of unfortunate events this week! A lot of things just hit like a tornado (If you know me, you know I have nightmares about Tornadoes, and really just natural disasters in general, ALL the time... which is funny because I have never experienced one, or never really even lived in a place long enough to experience one... Probably a good representation of my life: Always worrying about things that really I have no control over... And what does stressing do? NOTHING. And then there never really is a "storm" anyway.) and we were NOT prepared for these things....

The first was that Sister Parra-- a missionary here at the VC who I just LOVED (and still do, of course)-- went home quickly because her older sister passed away suddenly. How heartbreaking! AH I can't even imagine... for several reasons... That would just be so hard. She actually had finished her 18 months but had extended one transfer so she really didn't miss any of her mission. BUT she didn't get to have any sort of preparation, spiritually or mentally, to go home. That would be so hard. And her family... My heart goes out to them! We love you Hermana Parra. "I lub you"

Granny G isn't doing too well. It really is sad how Satan moves in and tries to strike just after a very amazing, spiritual experience. I had never seen her so happy than after her baptism. And now, she is just having a hard time. We had a lesson and I became very very very upset afterwards. I was able to talk with our VC director about things, and it was really a blessing. SO this experience wasn't totally unfortunate. We had a good talk about doing all that we can, and then leaving things up to the Lord. He reinforced my work, helping me feel better and not believe that things are always my fault. People have their agency... And just because my feelings get hurt, it doesn't mean that I can change anyone or force them to do anything. My heart gets broken so easily by people... something I'm working on... but the truth is, if things always went MY way, I would be taking away the opportunity for someone else to excercise their agency and also probably miss out on some seriously cool growth experiences. Cause that is what trials turn into. Like a butterfly. Anyways... pray for Granny G.

Yesterday, Sunday, 2 of our Sisters got in a car accident. Sister Pinto and I were able to go and help and such... They were T-Boned in an intersection and the cars were completely totaled. One Sister felt horrible because of the accident, and the other one was rushed to the hospital for some x-rays and things... We were at the hospital for 3 hours with them yesterday. Both of them are fine, just really sore, especially one of them... But all is well. Needless to say, it was a pretty dramatic day. This is funny: there was a Stake Conference that Pres and Sis Baker were supposed to speak at, but they were at the hospital with us. So it was announced to an entire stake that there was an accident, that 2 sisters were in the hospital. Which then of course caused for a lot of drama. Our Zone Leaders who were at the stake conference were stressing out thinking one of us had died. Maybe that's not funny, but I thought it was pretty amusing. Oh the drama. I love it.

So, as you can see. It was a crazy week.

BUT there is something really crazy cool happening. The other VC Sister trainer-- Hermana Bustamante-- and I were able to get trained through Headquarters how to do "chat" on So we are able to teach people online! It's amazing! I have all ready had some really amazing experiences. Tonight, we have a "return appointment" with a guy who is seriously searching for the truth. I've taught him 3 times and it really has been incredible. If you go on and click "chat with us" it takes you automatically to a missionary. Pretty amazing stuff. Send your friends there!

Oh. So I wasn't transferred. I can't believe transfers were just 4 days ago. Like I said, LOOOOOONG week. We are still truckin in Bel Air for at least one more transfer! I'm glad I'm still with my Pinto Bean here. There is so much work to do in this area....And we are working hard, mark my words. By the end of this transfer, I will have been a missionary in Bel Air/Beverly Hills/UCLA for 7 and a half months. Which is a reallllly long time to be in one area. But I'm lovin it. Sort of overwhelmed at times... But loving it nonetheless. Heavenly Father is also probably laughing at me all the time because I am ALWAYS around Black Range Rovers... My favorite car.... But I have to be honest, after being a missionary here for that long, I think I'll pass on the Range Rover. A mini van for my 6 kids will suffice. (I know, right?! Changes!)

Simpsons are doing well. We are starting completely over with him and hopefully that will help him to receive some answers. They are so great...

Halloween is everywhere all ready. Really?! Is it all ready HALLOWEEN TIME?! Can't believe that at all. I think I'll be a Sister Missionary this year (that was for you Mom.)

We did a lot of finding this week. Not too many funny or crazy stories, but we did find some new potential investigators for the UCLA ward. Pray for us! We need a teaching pool... I have been very fortunate to have people that we have been teaching my whole time in Bel Air, now we are on a "dry spell". So... we need some super soakers...

I AM SO EXCITED FOR CONFERENCE! I really cannot explain how wonderful conference is as a missionary. It's like the best treat ever. Better than the new Oatmeal Cookie flavor at Yogurtland. For reals. I have been re-reading all of last conference and I am so excited to see what those wonderful men have to say. Conference will also be 5 years since my Dad died... a good time to reflect and remember that special man. I miss him.

Sometimes a Sister just needs a nap! (said with a "sparkle s"). I guess it's my own fault that I am tired right now because we played Ultimate frisbee for 2 hours today. SO I am tired and a tad sunburned. But it felt oh so good.

I love being a missionary. So. Much.

Yesterday I was in a tour and feeling the spirit really strong (even in SPANISH!) and I had the though "I only have 5 more months of this". And I got teary-eyed. I never thought I would be one of those "NOOOO I DONT WANT TO LEAAAAAAVVVVEE" missionaries but maybe I was fooling myself. This work is oh so good.

PS. I didn't have time to write ANY letters today. Again, frisbee.... Sorry! I love you oh so much (Mom and Court... this is for you... please forgive me!::(

Sista Brink