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