Monday, July 25, 2011

Lessons Learned.

I learned a VERY valuable lesson this week. Last Monday, when I e-mailed, I was really frustrated. I was being VERY selfish and VERY prideful in thinking that it was totally unfair that we were working so hard and finding people for other areas. And then, of course, on Monday, with a slap in the face, we received a referral for a girl we will call Anastasia (she speaks russian) who WANTED TO GET BAPTIZED! Yes, I know, amazing. And also really pathetic because I was truly having the biggest pity party ever. A party that everyone was invited to but no one wanted to come because it was PATHETIC. So then I was on my knees thanking Heavenly Father and asking for forgiveness for my grumbling! And yet he still blessed us with this wonderful blessing regardless of my faults and attitude. We had a lesson with her on Wednesday, and she accepted a baptismal date for August. It was a really great lesson. She loved church yesterday and she is excited to come and see Quadra's baptism on Saturday.  I will never ever complain or grumble when things aren't going well (never say never, right? Ok I will TRY to never complain or grumble) and try to do what is counseled in D and C 123 and "cheerfully go about doing good". Lesson learned. Brutally learned.

I then gave a training about being a happy, successful missionary (so basically having a good attitude) which was even more hilarious. Like Heavenly Father was like "here ya go. One more thing to make you realize how great you have it and to CHILL OUT". I mostly talked about CHOOSING to be happy amidst trials, trying to reach outward to heal the innards, and how to have a good attitude about this seriously hard and sometimes painful experience as missionaries. I talked about my Momma and how she always has a good attitude about things, especially during the oh-so-hard things. I gotta learn that trait. Still working on it. Which is hilarious because the reason my District Leader, Elder Haslum, asked me was because he says I am always happy. Well, he must not know what goes on behind closed doors. Or in my e-mails for that matter. Point in case: I'm sorry I grumbled. I am grateful for the blessings we are receiving, and I have decided to always have a good attitude because when it comes down to it, this work is AMAZING and I am so lucky to be a part of it. I say this often, but I really do love being a missionary.

Haha speaking of that. Today at Target I was trying on a shirt over my shirt (if you know me at all you know that I avoid dressing rooms at all cost, so I will just put whatever I want to buy on over my clothes right there in the store) and my tag fell off and I couldn't find it for like 2 minutes and I was STRESSING out. It was like I seriously didn't know who I was without my tag. I thought "What if someone is here and is ready to receive the Gospel and I'M the one they need to talk to and they will have no idea to approach me because I look just like everyone else!?" Anyways. It was funny. I found my tag. And no one really asked me about the Gospel. BUT that is ok. I still found my tag. It will be interesting when I take it off for good. Not looking forward to that. I like being Sister Brinkerhoff. Although, my name does cause a lot of problems being that most people we talk to are from other countries and my name is like the worst possible thing to say. I will be pretty happy when I don't have this 3-syllable monster-of-a-name attached to my simple but unique first name. Watch, I will marry someone with a much worse last name than mine. Because those are the kinds of things that happen to me. And I bet it's pretty funny to Heavenly Father when they do.

Granny G is still doing really well also. The ward is getting involved, and she is still reading and praying. She has moments where she says "I don't want to be committed" and then the next day she is telling us she read. We feel her testimony is growing. We still need a solid friend for her in the ward, but we think we have a couple older ladies who would be great.

Quadra is set to be baptized this weekend if all goes well. She is so excited.

CHAN CHAN AND HALEIGH GIRL! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! Seriously. I am so sad I wasn't there :( But I am just so proud of you girls! You shine! I am proud to say that I am YOUR cousin! I bet you just blew everyone away and that you were LIGHTS up there on that stage. Ah! I love it. I'm so happy for you girlies. Always remember how you felt at YASE, that you are a beautiful daughter of God and that you can ALWAYS lean on the Savior for help and strength. I'm so proud of you.

God is so good. Really. I love being a missionary. (Have I said that lately?) Thank you all for your support and love!

Sista Brink

Monday, July 18, 2011

Notta Lotta

Really there is not a lot today.

Mostly it goes like this. We find investigators. And then we find out where they live. And then we realize they don't live in our area. So we give their address to the other Sisters. Which is OK, because we are all on the same team, right? BUT we also want to teach people. Especially a family. And we found one this week, for their area :( but also really cool that a family will be introduced to this wonderful Gospel.

Sometimes I miss the little things.

I think I pulled my hamstring this morning because I did like 10 lunges. Nice. Way to be out of shape. Although I do jump rope like a jumpin-rope-freak but I guess that doesn't work the hammie hams. And they are truly HAMS right now if you know what I mean. I was really looking forward to growing on my mission. But only spiritually... But I guess I'm doing SO much growing that its influencing my outer-ness also. You get the point.

I mean honestly. We have no social life, no dating life, no retail therapy time, no nap time, no drive-through-sonic-for-a-diet-dr.-pepper-when-you-want-a-chocolate-cake time, no yoga time, no run at 8 o clock because your stressed time. What do we have? We have meals. And Cinnamon Toast Crunch (actually, I prefer Oh's, but any type of cereal will do.) So then what happens? That is our out, our time to just release. So we eat. And we gain weight.UGH. Has. To. Stop. Just did, ok. Done.

 But THEN Courtney sends an amazing package of healthy treats that makes me feel so good. AND a member in my ward LOVES to make zero point vegetable soup, so she gave me a whole stock because she freezes a ton at a time. I'm lucky.  
Wah wah wah.

Granny G is amazing. We come over and her face lights up and she basically screams, which is hilarious to see on a little 70 year old woman. She believes the Book of Mormon is true (which, it is... so...) and she has started doing her family history. That will be an amazing thing when she does the work for her ancestors because she will be the first one in her family for sure. All of those people waiting for her to do it for them. Pretty amazing. She actually is not completely sure about all of the afterlife stuff, but she is starting to understand. So amazing.

Quadra is getting baptized NEXT weekend the 30th instead of this weekend because of those Mormons and the Pioneer day Hoopla. It will be so great and she is so excited. I love that girl so much.

Met lots of neat people at the Visitors Center this week. It was super fun. And super great to see Tay Frey! And bummed I missed the bro and Stac :( Silly sisters. I was RIGHT there, they couldve just had you step outside or something and see me drive my so you could wave me down. I literally was 15 feet away from the Visitors Center in a car and they probably knew I would be close. Lame, I'm sorry.

I was supposed to write a lot of letters today. BUT I didn't. Because of a situation at the Hair School... SO if you were expecting one... I'm sorry it didn't happen today. (courtney, this is for you ... I LOVEEEEEEEED the package. I'm sorry I didn't get a letter to you today :( And tell Brad that he better have chosen a good one for that concert. That can't just be anybody! Man!)

Hmmmmmmm. I finished "our search for happiness" this week. If you haven't read that, READ IT. Seriously it's amazing. Just puts everything in a very simple, and to the point way and it really strengthened my testimony a lot. This Gospel is SO real. Completely real. It's so wonderful. People ask what is the best part about being a missionary a lot. The answer is this: seeing the remarkable change that happens when somebody realizes that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that we will live forever with our families if we do all that the Lord has asked of us.

SO Sarah Tindall Clarkson is famous here at the Visitors Center! She has a video and when I saw it I was so surprised and was so excited to tell everyone "I KNOW HER!". Justin- what is crazy is that I was just thinking about you because I had just  read that talk/ book that you had sent me about Remarkable Women by Pres. Uchtdorf. And then I saw Sarah. SO it was really funny timing. But really, thank you so much for that book. It has helped me in so many ways. You are a great friend. I read that book like 3 times this week and it has really been a powerful thing because it is TOTALLY applicable to me. Thank you thank you.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRFR! Brig, I love you and you are amazing. I am so excited for the exciting things coming your way :) Tell the little one that her auntie sis Brink loves her. I hope you had a great birthday.

Ok well I am outta here. The gospel is good. And true. And fun. And even though I hate my hair sometimes, this is worth it.

Sista Brink

Thursday, July 14, 2011

And Then it was the 13th

And then it was the 14th. And then it was August. Time just goes by so fast.

First off. a VERY special person had a birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY COURT! I hope you had the best day ever. I sent a little gift today (along with a very over due gift for my niece Jaider baiders... sorry so late but I LOVE YOU!). Of course I thought of you, and how that was the hottest day EVER when Linz and Ty got marriaged. Weird how long ago that was. Anyways, I love you and your incredible. And your present has everything to do with me, so I'm sure you'll love it :) I love you so much and am so grateful for you.

This e-mail will be short because I used like 20 minutes to do this survey thing. Silliness. And probably really important.

My Sister and Brother in law are silly gooses. BUT it was SO amazing to see them and show them off to everyone. Linz of course came to see me and ended up making friends with everyone at the center, missionaries, visitors... who knows who. It was so amazing. The boys are huge. I'm trying not to feel too guilty since I technically didn't do anything wrong, so it's on them :)

We went to the temple this morning. It was of course amazing. I just love that place with all of my heart. I realized how lucky I am to have always been in very close proximity to the temple. In Mesa, Provo, and now here. And then have been able to visit many temples around the world. I think I always took it for granted to live so close. I won't do that again! Being able to go every other transfer is so wonderful, though I wish it were more. Being in there, you CANNOT deny that this is real. Kind of confusing and overwhelming at times, but SO real. Oh so real.

We will be e-mailing again on Monday because we had Preparation Day on Wednesday, today, to go to the temple so we will still have normal P-day come this monday. So I will probably make that one a tad longer.

But just a quick update:

Skeema is taking a break from us. It's weird- I really feel like when your in a break in a relationship and its like "should I call?... No.... Text?... Noo...... " and its just so hard. Kind of ridiculous. I just love and care about her so much. Want her to have the happiness that we have in the Gospel. BUT then theres this thing called agency... which is totally another subject for another post.

Granny G.... brought me some shoes and a scarf she knitted. She says it's doing charity :) Which it is, so I gladly accept. She is adorable. Slightly difficult to understand, but adorable. We are really trying to find a good fellowshipper for her. This is one of those times that I need Momma Dar to just invite Granny G over for Daves Barbecue (speaking of Daves.... I miss that. I wish there was a way you could send me some Daves cornbread hahahaha. Mmmmmmm. Probably wouldn't help Candace (my mission baby... the weight gainage. Yes, she has a name. Candace.)

Ok well I think that is going to be all for now.

OH! I FINISHED THE OLD TESTAMENT! Seriously, the best news ever because it took me 6 months and I am just so happy that its done. Movin on to read the mission library and the new testament. Love it.

Things are good. Life is good. The Gospel is true.

Sista Brink

Monday, July 4, 2011

Jose Can You Sing?

No no, he can't. It's true, Latinos generally can't really sing.

I actually remember when I realized that those weren't the real words to that song. And I'm sad to say it wasn't TOO long ago.... I also slept with my parents (and my friends' parents on occasion) til I was 12 because of Chucky the doll, remember? Estoy que Esta. (Tyler you would like this... one time Sis Bodily said something in Spanish and I wanted to say something like "Be with it as you may" but I didn't know how to translate. So I decided to say "Estoy que esta" which obviously is "I am what it is" (not really). Which also doesn't make any sense. Anyways, it was funny)

Its the fourth of July! Man, I actually really love this holiday. Few reasons:
1) I love red. But only as an accent color, and it is a GREAT accent color for we Americans.
2) Freedom is a good thing. That's how we have the religion we have! What a blessing.
3) Rousing renditions of the Star Spangled Banner (Jose can you sing)
4) Fireworks. And I remember so many memories in Heber AZ watching fireworks at the High school.
5) Barbecues
6) Really great reason to go shopping.
7) Makes me think how every time we passed a flag, Dar would start singing "You're a grand ole flag" and swerve the van around. Oh momma Dar, how wonderful you are.

My 4th of July celebrations were much different than my old life today. But we did go shopping, with Skeema. And I am wearing a red shirt. And I like freedom, and because of that freedom, I am able to be here talking to people about Jesus Christ and they have the choice to accept or not (freedom on many levels... agency included).  And we did have a seriously rousing rendition of the star spangled banner at church yesterday with Sis Anderson leading with her decked-out 4th of July attire on. So classic and wonderful. And we will probably be able to see the fireworks from the Hollywood Bowl (speaking of that. I HAVE to come back for that next year. Who's in?) tonight from our apartment. And I can sing "You're a grand ole flag" just as good as my Momma. So there. Not a bad 4th of July. The best, in fact. I will say though I've been RACKING my brain to remember what I did last 4th of July. I can remember the year before that, but I can't for the life of me remember where I was on the 4th last year. If you remember, let me know. If I was with you, and you're sad that I can't remember, just know that sometimes I can't remember the name of my favorite Broadway stars or a friends last name. It happens. It's called spiritual fog in the brain. Or just a protection from the world... either way, my brain is a tad lost sometimes.

This week was grand. Every time I sit here to write about my weeks, I can't remember a thing. But then after I start typing the memories flow. I also keep a little memory journal which helps.

Ok first things first: JOE! I wasn't mad at you! How could I be mad at you? I just couldn't really talk because there were people STARING at me and I was p-probably BRIGHT red. You kill me, it was hilarious, and I loved it. Mom, don't ever do that.

AND it was such a surprise to see my Hallie and Robin! I come out of the bathroom and about died when I saw them sitting in the family area. I love them so much! It was so great to see them. I have the bestest friends. It's fun for people to see my little world here in Los Angeles.

We talked to Granny G this week about the Atonement. She didn't really understand that we have to repent for everything, not just stealing or hurting someone, but for even gossiping and those things. She is adorable. She walks into the church on Sunday with a black bag and hands it to me. It was an ADORABLE vintage, retro scarf. Of course I love it. And the note attached said "Thank you for giving me an opportunity to correct my mistakes. Thank you for your time in my home." About made the tears flow! How sweet is that. I loved that almost as much as I loved it when, halfway through sacrament, she stands up from her seat just a bench behind us where she was sitting with a couple of members, marches to us (important to note that it was fast Sunday so everyone thought she was getting up) and says "can we go now?" to which I replied "No, it's not over yet." It was pretty hilarious.

We had 2 women come to church yesterday asking questions, one from Paris and the other from the middle east, and we have an appointment with each of them tomorrow. MIRACLE!

Skeema is hilarious. I told her yesterday, in a very long speech (that she very much deserved... long story)  to which she replied "Woa. I'm scared of you. That's good. That was a good speech.", a lot of things that needed to be said. I just opened my mouth, spoke, and then honestly could not remember what I said. But Skeema understood, and I felt so grateful that the Spirit was able to speak to her through me. Sometimes it's like she is speaking Portuguese. And it sounds amazing, and you want to listen, but you can't understand a word she is saying because it's in a different language. So yesterday, the Spirit allowed me to speak HER language, and we communicated. It was really neat. She is fascinated by the fact that Christ visited the Americas. Not quite sold that the Atonement is real just yet. It's a little too good to be true for her at this point, which is completely understandable. You don't know unless you try.

Quadra is wonderful. She has decided to for sure be baptized July 23rd. Hoooooooorrrrrrraaaaaaaaay!!!

I love the Book of Mormon. I'm in the beginning chapters of 3 Nephi and it always stresses me out as it gets closer to the coming of Christ because the people are willfully rejecting the word of God. It's so sad! But then there are amazing people too who are doing the very best that they know how. I love the Book of Mormon. Have I said that lately? It is so neat to talk to people all the time about it and to be able to, without any doubt, say that I KNOW it is true. It's a pretty great feeling.

I have 80 pages left in the Old Testament THANK HEAVENS. Hopefully I will be finished by the next time I write. Which will actually be Wednesday the 13th because we are going to the temple that day and will have Preparation Day on that day instead of Monday.

Well nothing else to say today. Just glad to be a missionary and grateful for the experiences I am having. Even though my feet hurt.

You all are the best.

Way to go freedom!

Sista Brink