Monday, January 24, 2011

Good-Bye Ruby Reds

Well I really only have an update since Wednesday because we had P-Day on Wednesday last week because we went to the temple in the morning and then had P-Day for the rest of the day so it's only a few days later. I will say, however, that Wednesday seems like it was yearrrrrrs ago haha. Time is so warped on a mission. It FLIES but at the same time is SOOOOO slow. It's weird.

So let's see.... Wednesday was pretty stressful because of finding out my Momma wasn't doing too well. I feel pretty out of the loop which is frustrating, but President Baker was very good to me and let me talk to my Mom on Thursday night. She answered and the tears startewelling but then she swore and we started laughing and I thought "Ha. She is just fine... Same old Momma Dar" haha. She didn't sound too good to be honest, but we got to talk for a while which was wonderful. Not sure if you know this, but my Mom is the greatest Mom in the entire world. She really is wonderful. Everyone in Santa Monica is praying for her, so lucky for her the best ward in the world is on her side! I have always really been loved a lot because my Mom is so amazing, well now everyone really loves my Mom a lot because they think I'm amazing! Funny how that works out :) Only kidding.

We had a ward activity on Saturday night about Missionary Work and how to be prepared for those questions that people will inevitably ask when they find out your Mormon (The best was this week when a man came into the VC asking when Moroni on top of the temple was going to come back to life.... Nice). It was a really great activity and our ward really is amazing. RWLJ was there and he loved it! He is all ready a missionary. SO I was wearing my red ruby flats that have a flower on the top that I found through FATE at Ross a few months ago. Sister Bolton LOVED them. Now let me tell you about Sister Bolton. The first time we ate at her house I was just at a loss of words. She has probably 30 2 ft tall porcelean dolls in her front room in front of her fire place. And then another 50 probably throughout the house. Sister Bolton rarely comes to church without a seriously extreme hat or a huge coat of many colors. She always says some pretty outrageous things during relief society and sunday school and also about what I am wearing or how I look.
She's just a ball of fun really. Last week when we ate a her house, she gave us a "souvenir" (we get souvenirs everytime we go over... usually a beanie baby or a mini doll....) that was her Christmas cards for THIS year, 2011.  She ordered them just after Christmas and wanted us to have one because of how cute they were. She made us swear a solemn oath that we wouldn't show any one in the ward because then they would know what her card was going to be 12 months in advance and we just couldn't allow that to happen! Anyways. SO at the ward party, she kept eyeing my shoes. She asked me where I got them, asked me if I would be there again anytime soon, and then asked if I could try them on. I should've known better than to let her try them on because she just fell in love with my Ruby Reds. She said they matched her outfit (a purple sweat suit with flowers all over it) and that they were the only shoes she's EVER tried on that were wide enough. She told Sis McDonough--her visiting teacher-- that she wanted a pair and to watch for a pair for her. Well I knew that there would probably never be another pair because of how different they were so I fought the idea of giving them to her. If you know me at all you know that Red is my favorite accent color so having a fun pair of red shoes is just what the doctor ordered for sad-can-only-wear-boring-missionary-clothes sister Brinkerhoff. BUT the thing was, she just kept eyeing them and telling Sis McDonough to look at the brand and I just couldn't bare the thought of her NOT going home with my shoes. So I did it. I gave them to her. But really it's ok cause I bought a pair of really ugly sister missionary shoes at payless last week (don't think I've shopped there since the 8th grade. I told you, I'm-a-changin!). She wore them to church the next day with a pair of really fluffy white sox (yeah, I about peed.) and a HUGE red fur coat. It made it allllll worth it. Mind you, after I gave them to her (with a small fight... but it didn't take long for her to accept only on the condition that nobody knew where she got them. haha) she told me that it was a shame that I straightened my hair.

"You need to be grateful for your curls. And you look better with it curly. And younger. But don't listen to what I say... do what you want". thanks sister bolton!. Goodbye Ruby Reds. Hello ugly missionary shoes.

So the Robert Webster Light Jr quote for the week: "When I see what alls out there in the additional scripture to the Bible, I think *HOLY FISH*! I wanna get in on it!" Yes, I will start using the phrase "Holy Fish". Maybe you all should too.
I was able to talk to 2 families on Saturday that were really amazing. The Burns and the Capps. The Burns were actually on "Extreme Home Makeover" for their adorable son who has Brittle Bone Disease. They made everything in his room and bathroom squishy so he would be safe! Isn't that the coolest? Ellen and Jerry had really cool stories about how they got together and more importantly, how they made it to the temple. It was reallly cool to talk to them. And then there was Butch and Bo Capps (I love the name Bo. Yes, I will have a daughter named Bo someday) and they've been married for 50 years and he got baptized a year ago. They have been working on getting to the temple and I sure hope they do. Bo is struggling to quit smoking... it was really interesting becasue I never really thought I could relate to someone like that. But I gave up Sugar and Diet soda and I she was really amazed and shocked when I told her I did that. Sugar has always been an issue for me, and so a couple months ago, I decided to give it up (of course I have had a couple slip ups... Christmas, etc... but for the most part I have been sugar free). She really connected to me and I was able to say "If I could give up sugar you can give up smoking".
She really seemed to believe that and I'd like to think that she will be able to give it up. Maybe it's not even th same thing at all, but hey, we all have our things and only the Lord can help us overcome them.

I finished Genesis this week and I am in Exodus reading about Moses. It's interesting because Moses doubts himself A LOT. He constantly says things in the beginning like "I dont have good speech... why am I to do this??" (obviously not the exact words) and then God says somehting like "don't you know I made you" basically saying how DARE you doubt the calling that I have given you! I think we all can relate to that...I know that I often find myself thinking "what in the world am I doing.... I am NOT cut out for missionary work" and then the Lord says how DARE you do that while he gives me a miracle to be able to be a part of.... He is so good to us. We should never doubt ourselves because we are children of God. If we REALLY knew we were Children of> God, how differently would we treat ourselves, others, go about our day, share the gospel.... all of those things. Maybe we all need to go back to our roots and remember where we came from.

Lets see... Not much else going on. We really are trying to find people to teach,imagine that?! Ha. Really pray for Santa Monica. People either hate us or are on parole it seems. I know there are people out there who are ready and prepared to hear the gospel we just have to find them. We didn't get to have too much time in our area this week because we worked at the VC a lot so hopefully this week we'll have some new investigators to tell you about.

I love this work, I love th Gospel, I love the Lord very very very much!

Sista Brink

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Love to See the Temple

 I'm going there someday. Actually, today I all ready went. And it was lovely! We had a "Temple P-Day" today so we had a session at 6:30 AM and then had the day until 3 when we were to be at the VC to do our P-Day stuff.  I love the temple. Simple as that. I still don't understand a lot of things, but I do know that when I am at the Temple, I know that God knows and loves His children and that this really is Jesus Christ's church restored again on the earth. The plan of Salvation is real and true and I am so very grateful for it.

It's been 10 days since my last e-mail so you'd think I would be bursting with fun information but I am a little stuck right now because of some news that my Mom is in the hospital... So I am having a hard time focusing. But I still have a couple miracles and insights to share.

I watched D. Todd Christofferson's CES Fireside that he did at the New Year and it was sooooooo good! He talked about resolutions and that we can set a big goal, but if we don't focus on the necessary things to accomplish daily for that big goal to be accomplished, then the goal will never be reached. I love that. It applies so much to missionary work and to real life because we can't focus on things so far ahead in the future. It is good to look at them occasionally as a measure of
where we are at, but really we need to stay focused and dedicated to the here and now. One minute at a time.

The other night we went to visit a former investigator that we have tried to go see several times but she is never ever home. We were really frustrated to find that, again, she wasn't there. As we walked away, Sister browning said "Maybe we aren't here to see Tamara." Just then a lady walked near with two dogs. We tried to talk to her and she quickly said "I do NOT believe in the Mormon church". "Ok, have a nice day!", we said. Defeated, we kept walking to find another lady walking her dog (dog walking is the THING in Santa Monica. Everyone walks around with little blue baggies that they pick up their poop with. Nice.) so we, somewhat begrdugingly said hello to her.
Lois Barry is her name and she was just the biggest blessing for us that night! We talked for like 20 minutes on the street and basically taught the whole first lesson about the Restoration. She is coming to church on Sunday and we are going to take her a Book of Mormon next week. What a tender mercy.

Classic RWLJ Moment: We were talking about the Book of Mormon (of course. It's his favorite topic. Mine too) and he said "Sister Brinkerhoff. If anyone tries to tell you that the Bible is complete and infallible, give them John 21:25 and tell them to put that in your pipe and smoke it!" I just wish we could take him tracting with us. He tells EVERYONE about the book of mormon! He's such a little missionary.

We love this talk or fireside or something called "The 4th Watch" by something Wilcox (Not Brad Wilcox but someone else) and I LOVE IT! He talks about how we worship a 4th watch god. That we have to endure things until the Lord sees that we can no longer hold out without his help and then he saves us miraculously. He also says that we ask for things in Prayer, exepecting bread from the Lord, but we receive a stone. BUt it's really only US that SEES the answers as a stone. The Lord ALWAYS gives us bread, it just might be a different kind of bread. Our Tamara/Lois story is a perfect example. We went to see Tamara, but the Lord gave us Lois. So amazing.

Ok I have a lot more but I am going to end this one for this week. Thank you all for your love and support! Pray for Momma Dar.

Sista Brink

[NOTE - Sista Brink's mom is home from the hospital now.]

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

VC Miracles, Bob Dabilder, a confirmation, dependability and bad hair cuts

Well. It is 10 days into 2011. How's everyone's goals going? Mine are A OK.  But it's only January 10th. I'll let you know where I'm at in 6 months.
This week was pretty great. I had 2 very cool experiences at the Visitors Center. One was with a lady named Karrie. Karrie is african american and she is 86 and is investigating the church. A couple came into the VC last week on their way home from their Senior Mission in Oakland and they said the best part of their mission was seeing an 86 year old man get baptized. When I met Karrie, I thought of that story. She is investigating the church and being fellowshipped by a very nice guy who has really been to hell and back and has really had to use the atonement for a true change of heart. After every video I showed her at the VC she said "That was beautiful". The Elders are meeting with her and they updated me yesterday and said she went to church. She's gonna get baptized ( I hope :))

The next was Lisa Jackson. Sister Browning and I are in charge of sending out all of the referrals that come in through the computer (internet referrals, VC referrals, and then referrals from other> missions) and as we were going through them, I noticed this Lisa Jackson who had a Hotel as her address here in LA. That wouldn't work for the program to send a text to the Elders in the area so I called her to get her address. Turns out,she had referred herself from the internet because she took a quiz advertised in Oprah's magazine about how to know what religion you should be a part of and her number one result was to be mormon. Ha! So she is investigating the church. While on the phone, we became friends and I invited her to the VC. She came the next morning and we talked for a while about the restoration. I gave her a Book of Mormon and she is so excited to read it. She is coming back to the VC tomorrow and she meets with the Elders tonight. Another person coming to the truth! Hooray!

So. On people can say they want the missionaries to come visit them. When they give their info, a text message goes to the missionaries in that area (after Sis Browning and I make sure to send it to the right area) and we got a referral last week and I was SOOOOO excited because that is every missionaries DREAM to have someone REQUEST the missionaries! I looked at the text and said "Oh my gosh this guys name is Bob Dabilder! Like Bob THE builder! That is hilarious!" And then of course I told EVERYONE about our referral named Bob Dabilder. You guessed it, someone played a joke on us. We called Bob, and there was NO Bob, and we went to the house which was a construction site right on th beach. Nice, right? I was really sad. BUT as we were walking along Santa Monica beach trying to street contact (and people just walk by as if they didn't hear us) we talked to guy playing the trombone. It was really a cool conversation... We talked about how people think money will give them happiness and how there are so many people who just go to work, go home to their huge house and nice cars (and let me tell you, there are some HUGE houses in Santa Monica. And like 100 steps from the beach.... Ridiculous) and they think that will bring them happiness. He wasn't super interested, but we are going to go back and see him another Saturday night cause he always plays there. He will see the light someday.

Robert Webster Light Jr. was confirmed a member of the church yesterday! It was wonderful. When they called him up, he stood up, straightened his tie, fixed his hair in the isle and then marched on up to his chair. He again felt very exhausted last night and says "I am just so relieved and tired from all of my searching. I don't have to do that anymore". Brother Elkins confirmed him and it is so great to see that Robert has so many friends now.The Gospel really does bless lives.

 I am realizing something more and more everyday. I have been depending on things and people my whole life for the things that I need. My Mom for EVERYTHING, every care every worry every frustration, security etc... My family for so many things, my friends for support and to make me feel happy and better, Shep for always making my hair look great (bad haircut story coming soon), shopping for immediate gratification and to look good, the MDT program to help me belong and feel good at something, my car to get me places, stress relieving activities (painting my nails, duh! But you all all ready knew I was obsessed with that), Weight Watchers to help me eat right and be healthy.... All of these things I have always depended on. And of course I always did depend on the Lord, but I think I never really understood that none of that "stuff" matter. I am now without all of those things and I have only my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ, my Book of Mormon, and my Companion for help and support. Oh how we all need to depend on the Lord for EVERYTHING! He will provide! I am proof of that. I never thought I would be Ok without MY LIFE. Of course I still think about my life and the things I did and would be doing if I wasn't on a mission, but I am really OK without my "Life". I am learning to depend on the Lord for everything, and it is wonderful. I am understanding more and more about myself and more and more about the person Heavenly Father wants me to be and BELIEVES that I can become. I am so grateful.

So we had 2 people tell us that the salon called "The yellow balloon" was great for hair cuts. WRONG. And on top of that, it's a KID salon! I was sitting in a submarine to get my hair cut. Elsa practically burnt my ear off with the blow dryer and did a number to my bangs. My head isn't THAT bad but you just don't know how good Shep really is until you don't have him anymore. (Mom- Shep is my facebook friend... Shep Wolsely I think. Tell him to look at this. He'll get a kick out of it) Anyways, Sister Browning and I had to fix my bangs yet again. I guess it's time to just give up on having a cool hair cut for a while. Man. Speaking of not worrying about my "life"
anymore haha.

 This is a long one, I'm gonna end.... Hope you all are doing wonderfully. I miss and love you all greatly!

Sista Brink

Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome to the Church, RWL Jr!

Yep. "That's right" (that's one of RWLJ's favorite things to say... )  he is baptized! 

The baptism was LOVELY. Truly so amazing. He came in to the VC on Friday and knew the seconds until his baptism. Then I asked him to calculate the seconds til February 2012, and he took me seriously and I had to make him stop cause it would stress me out. Ha. Anyways. So his baptism went like this: Brother Heaton in our Bishopric lead, we sang a hymn to start, then Brother Staples (one of the ward Missionaries who we had at a  couple of RWLJ's lessons) talked on Baptism, then Robert was led to the font with Elder Macdonald ("The man who would be performing the baptism" -RWLJ.. I just wish you could hear the way he says things...) and then he was baptized.  Tears filled my eyes as Elder Macdonald recited the Baptismal prayer. It was amazing! Robert went under, came up and twitched a bit because of the water in his nose and ears, and then Elder Macdonald said "Good Job Robert." And Robert did his priceless chuckle. Then the three of us Missionaries who taught him gave a little Book of Mormon presentation while they changed. It was really amazing to be able to tell everyone there (there was a really good turn out... Santa Monica 1st ward is the best! Also, Roberts 2 step sisters who are not members came... so we were exaplaining the BoM a little bit more simply for them...) that Robert's testimony strengthened my testimony because he just KNEW it was true. He would shout from the rooftops "It couldn't NOT be true! If I was going to write a book, and claim it was true, I certainly wouldn't put a promise in there to ask God if it was true, because someone jsut might do it! And God would tell them it WASNT true! And then I'd be a fraud! ITS TRUE!" The spirit was really strong. Then when he came back out (oh my goodness... failed to mention. So my Mom sent me some like wooden sculpture pins of the nativity for Chrismtas and we gave them to RWLJ for 12 Days of Christmas. Yes, he was wearing 2 of them at his baptism also with his new white shirt and tie the Elders gave to us to give to him with the 12 days also... He looked sharp) all dressed and clean and so happy. I sang "Jesus Once of Humble Birth" (on request from RWLJ... his favorite hymn) and then Brother Webb (our amazing ward mission leader) talked on the Holy Ghost. It was a really powerful talk! And then a couple Brethren  (Brother Elkins and Brother Heaton) welcomed him to the ward. It was a wonderful day. Truly. I just thought to myself during it "this is why I am here." We talked to Robert last night and he said "Sisters. I'm exhausted... I think my body is just finally relieved from so much searching for truth. Today, I was able to stop my search." Pretty powerful stuff. The Gospel is TRUE. He is so excited to do the work for his family and is all ready preparing for the temple. We are so happy for him.

To back track a few days.... I finished the Book of Mormon on New Years Eve. Sister Browning and I read the last chapter in Moroni together. And then I said a little prayer to follow through with Moroni's promise and then Sister Browning and I just looked at each other and said "Yep. Its true.". I am so grateful for that challenge President gave us. I'm even more excited to read it again! (all ready started actually... and marking in a really cool way that I'm excited about... ). New Years morning we had a mission conference where President gave us the new Stand of Excellence for 2011. The Standard of Excellence is just a standard to shoot for with number of baptisms etc. The mission had 751 baptisms in 2010 and we are going for 850 for 2011. Robert was number 3 of 2011 and he was baptised on the 2nd. The work is going forward! So exciting. I was really excited about setting goals... If you know me well, you know that I am a GREAT goal setter and a GREAT goal giver-upper. But 2011 is gonna be different! For REALS! I'm so excited to accomplish my goals for reals this year.

I started reading the Old Testament yesterday. Of course I thought of "Children of Eden" and all of the scriptures wad me sing the songs. Ha. I'm excited to read it and familiarize myself with those stories.

The VC is still just happening! People just keep flocking there and I have been able to see a lot of miracles. It really is a unique experience to be able to teach someone a lesson, have them agree to
the missionaries coming over, and then sending them on their way only to hope and pray that they are baptized at some point. I have to believe they will be.

Well I am going to close now, even though I think there is a lot that  I missed... but such is life. RWLJ's baptism was definitely the highlight of the week so at least I got to go into a lot of detail about that!

 I am so grateful for this Gospel and especially the Book of Mormon. 
Sista Brink 

dreams of things to come....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas in Santa Monica

It was a memorable week for sure!  Here are some highlights:
~1,000 + people at the Visitors Center every night.

 ~Christmas Concerts at the VC! We Sisters did the concerts for Christmas Eve and Christmas. It was really fun. Interestingly, I was mostly the accompanist. Weird I know. The mission really is stretching me in more ways than one!

~Mission Wide Christmas Devotional on Christmas Eve. It was really amazing! Elder Tuttle and I sang "Who Would Imagine a King" and the rest of the music was just wonderful. My mission is huge! 200+ missionaries all in just LA. Crazy, huh? Santa was there too, and so was some delicious hot chocolate. It was a fun morning.

~Getting PACKAGES! And a STACK of cards and letters (mostly from my Mom.) Oh my goodness it was so much fun to open all of the packages on Christmas morning. I can't even believe how amazing people were to write and send love and gifts. I am a lucky gal. Thank you thank you. (You know who you are :) We had a lot of fun opening one gift at a time to make the time last longer and eating poppy seed bread, chocolate and hot chocolate for breakfast while we opened. Love love love.

~Talking to my familia! Oh my goodness what a treat. It was just such a blast. The first thing Jaiders said was (in a very whiny voice) "Baileeeee it's beeen awwwfullll without you" To which I responded"Hey Jaiders! How was your Christmas" and she was instantly ok and said "Oh! I got..." and then listed all of her treasures. Apparently I'm not THAT missed :) It was so fun to say hello to everyone. I loved that Joe "accidentally" managed to be at the house when I called.....It was so fun to say hi to him. I have the best friends and family in the world. True story. I love that Jake quoted Elf, Travis spoke Spanish, the kids all jibber jabberd, Linz "got down to business" and Mom cried. It was great to say hello to everyone.

~Delivering our Christmas gifts to some people in our ward. Santa Monica 1st is such a fantastic ward. I'm so grateful to be serving here.

~Robert Light Jr coming to our concert at the VC on Christmas and the look on his face when he got our little treat. "I don't care about the cookies... but the card is the important thing! It's like I have a little piece of you". I think I've mentioned this all ready, but Robert has us "inscribe" everything for him... and then he puts it away for safe keeping in a ziploc bag. He's the best. He gets baptized this sundaY! Saturday the building is closed so we had to push it back a tad.

~Well I think that is all for now. I am happy to be a missionary. I love the Lord. I love this Gospel and I love all of you!

Sista Brink

So excited to have healthy snacks from Britt Bowman!