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