Monday, September 29, 2014

Latest snail mail

Remember, this is an EXCERPT! :o)

Sept 8th and 15th, 2014
Our investigators are still hanging in there.  "L" is super close to actually starting the lessons.  We are just leaving her with reading to do right now.  The great thing is that she reads all we give her and she understands all that we leave with her.  She is progressing very well and has said things that lead us to believe she wants to be baptized.  "D" is having some issues with his testimony.  He thinks that he will know that the church is true after he receives a great awaking epiphany of some sort.  We spent the last meeting with him trying to help him understand how witnesses are received and that he doesn't have to worry.  He was worried that something was wrong with him.  "S" is someone we haven't been able to see for awhile.  He is super awesome but we haven't been able to make any contact with him at all.  We will hopefully be able to soon.

Yesterday we had one of those stereotypical missionary moments where we used basketball for a teaching opportunity.  We were walking by these High School aged kids who asked us if we wanted to play.  We said "sure" and played with them a bit.  They liked us and said we were pretty cool.  One was atheist, and the other was Baptist.  They said that they have lots of Mormon friends and said they were impressed with the Mormon girls who have good morals.  They asked us lots of questions about our missions.  They thought it was a BYU thing! ha ha.  We were able to answer questions and give them pass along cards.  Pretty cool experience!

Marijuana is legal here and very prevalent.  The spirits of the dark side are definitely working hard in our area.  The adversary is working very hard to influence the people here.  Many are wallowing in their drugs and addictions.  Pray that we will be safe.  We don't feel threatened in any way (and don't take any of this TOO seriously) but it is real.  The spirit world is real.  I have never before understood what power there is in the name of Jesus Christ.  He protects us.  He guides us and He is the reason I get up every morning.  This battle against the devil is real.  He is very strong, but the light and power of Jesus Christ are stronger.  Without Him, I am nothing.

I just finished reading about His visit to the Nephites in the Book of Morning and I've found it deeply moving.  3rd Nephi 17 especially.  When he turns to the people in verses 5 & 6 and then heals the sick and blesses the children in verses 11--25.  I have never felt closer to Him than here on a mission directly serving Him.  Before my mission, I couldn't find the time to study the scriptures.  Now, it's all I want to do and I can't find enough time to do it!  Everyone thinks I'm crazy for writing letters and studying on p-day, instead of messing around.

We've done lots of tracting, and we have found a lot of potential investigators this week!  We also found a family this week.  It's a divorced mom with 4 kids and they are super cool!  Her name is "C".  Her son "A" will be '8' soon, which means we have 3 new investigators!  Last week as a district we had 1 new investigator.  This week we had 13!!!  Things are looking up!  We will invite "L" to be baptized soon.  We are trying to visit more members.  We visited a new family in the ward from Pasco and they have a son leaving on a mission in like a week for Philadelphia.  
OK, so I'm feeling like I just want to be caught up (aka:  LAZY!!!!) and I'm going to skip a few letters.  Here's the latest email that Elder Brinkerhoff sent out to everyone on his email list:  

Greetings from the WKM here in the Tri-Cities!

This has been quite the eventful week! I caught a bad cold and helped a Hungarian lady move for 2 days during the climax of my sickness. I'm feeling much better now thank goodness. I had a fun exchange last Thursday with an Elder in my district. Then on Friday we had a 7 hour training on a revamped weekly planning that will be more efficient and help our areas a ton!

On Saturday we had a great missionary workshop for the youth in our stake where we got to rotate and hear from President and Sister Ware, the Zone leaders, the Sister training Leaders and the Assistants to the president. We got to sit with and interact with the youth and help answer questions and get them excited for the work.

We FINALLY have a new ward mission leader and he is great. I haven't had one this whole transfer and now it's almost up.... We'll see if I stay!

Our investigators are amazing and we have taught some great lessons. I am excited for all of them and hope they all continue progressing!

On Tuesday We did a session at the Columbia River temple as a zone and had a great time shopping in Kennewick afterwards. It was our P-day and we got to visit the mission office too. 

Today, all the missionaries in the tri-cities area got to preview the new 1st presidency commissioned film "Meet the Mormons" over in Pasco. It was a good movie and all should see it when it comes out. It is a part of the Lord hastening His work and it is important to go support it. I'm really looking forward to General Conference in a few weeks!

My mission has been great! Not easy, but definitely worth it! Have a great week! :)

-Elder Brinkerhoff 

Letter Excerpts

I haven't tried to send more pictures yet! I will in a sec. I haven't gotten anything from you yet, but I did get Nathan and Sarah's pictures finally!  Something I could definitely use sometime is more towels and washcloths. It's kinda gross using only one a week.... It's not urgent, but I'd sure love that haha! Also, there have been 2 more books added to the missionary library for my area! "The miracle of Forgiveness" (SW Kimball) and "Believing Christ" (Stephen E Robinson) I don't NEED them, but there's some ideas for down the road for like B-days or whatever. I have some stamps but maybe when I run out you can send one to me in your letter to use in replying. I have enough envelopes but it's hard to buy stamps because I don't have much time at Walmart the once a week we go. We usually e-mail at about 9:30 am if you want to get on at the same time! There's a lady we're teaching and helping who is a recent convert and i think you should get in contact with her! She is amazing. We're trying to help fellowship her husband. She has 2 daughters. One has autism. She is an amazing little 9 year old with a huge Vocabulary. She is writing a book about her experiences with her daughter and I think you'd love her stories! We call her the miracle woman haha She has a new miracle everyday and we love meeting with their family. 

I think my first week was tough because it was all new. It was hot and I couldn't sleep well either. I'm more used to it now and have a better grasp on all the people we see and everything now too. I've had a much better time :) I was grumpy last week but I'm pretty happy now! I've learned to rely on the Lord and pray all the time. No need to worry! I will write a letter to you once I get your next one. Yay! Internet will be nice! 

I HATE not being able to write e-mail very much but I will do better. Heidi told me just to copy and paste a letter every week and send it to everyone but make a few personal edits. I like that Idea! I'll write to you and then copy it for Grandma and Heidi or whoever. Not many others have written but I have to write to President Ware every week too.. He and Sister Ware are so great! I wish you could meet them. They are some of the most loving people I've ever met! They were approached by Elder Perry and officially set apart by President Eyring to be our mission leaders. They were an inspired choice! I love them very much and they take so good care of us along with the senior missionary couples that work in the office.

I love you!!!!

-Elder Brinkerhoff

We've had a fun week! We ate with the 'W' family and they are really cool people. Did you get my card? How was your birthday? I bet it's nice to have internet now!

Oh man, we've had a great week. We had 3 investigators at church yesterday and and this week we will hopefully extend 4 baptismal invites! Pray that they go well! It would be amazing to have 4 baptisms my 1st transfer!

We have had a couple rainy nights but it has been NOTHING. My companion and I really want it to rain but it never happens... It's just HOT!!! haha No worries though. Everyone takes care of us. My area is very kind to us. There are so many people who will not talk to us, but they insist we come in for some water because they respect the work we do. It's pretty amazing seeing how kind people can be. I usually come home with 5 waterbottles haha The members all take very good care of us too. Great dinners every night. We are spoiled here!

I'm glad you got my card and had a great birthday!! I guess there's my answer now haha I like your snail mail form idea! Keep going with that! 

Thank you for sending the package whenever! I'm trying to think if theres anything else, but I think I'm alright. Maybe some goodies..... ;)

New mission vehicle. 2009 corvette haha jk We got to see these really cool corvettes in the garage of an old couple in our area. They had a '78  and '09 one!

Hey! :)

We did have a great week! Ups and downs of course but mostly ups! I will send a big e-mail in a bit about some of my experiences. Yes! I got the package! Thank you so much! It was great to get it! I was expecting something all week and I didn't get it until Saturday night. The mail comes at about 10 in the morning but we were on exchanges with the Zone leaders so I wasn't home until that night. They all made me open it in front of them. At least there was nothing embarrassing in there. They were just like "Towels?! Well, at least you get packages..." lol They all have been out awhile and don't communicate home much. I promise I won't do that! 

Awesome! Good deal on those books! My companion has 'Believing Christ' and he let me read it. I love it a lot and can't wait to have my own. It has been amazing how much I've been able to learn and absorb from the scriptures and church books while on my mission! It's like never before! Paperbacks are definitely preferable. Thank you for the batteries and candy too! The batteries should last me for 2 years ;) 

So I gave that lady in my ward your e-mail yesterday at church and she said she was excited to contact you! She knows I have an autistic brother so she will probably ask about your experiences raising Nathan. You should also get some more dinner pics from the 'W' family if you haven't yet.

I love you and can't wait to read your letter. Send one this week ;) haha

Love Elder Brinkerhoff
Just wanted to  send a couple more pictures of your Elders.  We had them over again for dinner, this time making homemade pizza.  They also had a priest-age young man on a "mini-mission"  from Kennewick.  We also had them in our home for a discussion and they both have wonderful testimonies and a great spirit about them.  You can tell they have a solid companionship and enjoy working together.

Elder B. is growing and learning and every day.  He is so humble.   Elder Johnson is a great trainer and a excellent example of a seasoned missionary for Elder B.

They are blessing lives here in Richland.

~The "W' family

Sunday, September 28, 2014


We wanted to share our 24th BBQ with you that we had with your Elders.  Since Elder Brinkerhoff is new in the field we decided to have a "greenie" theme for him.  They are doing well and having fun and working hard.  I am the YM's president so they attend our Priest quorum every Sunday and are great examples to the YM.

We love serving the Elders because we also have a daughter on a mission so we hope she is being taken care of in her area. Our daughter is serving in the Salt Lake central mission Spanish speaking.  been out 6 months now.  

The bald man in the picture is Bishop McDonald who was sharing the meal with us (his family is out of town).....  :)  I am taking the pictures!  haha

Thank you for sharing your sons with us.

The church is exploding in our area and we love our missionaries.

A fun thing the members also do is keep our extra fridge in the garage or a cooler on the porch stocked with drinks for the missionaries cause it gets into the 100's around here...I'm sure you are used to that as well.  So they stop by and grab a cold drink and play a little ping pong.  While they cool down.

We'll keep in touch about your Elder B!  :)
The "W" family

Elder B. goes to Washington!

 (Elder B. with President and Sister Ware)

"Dear Missionary Family,

We are delighted to inform you that your missionary has arrived safely to the Washington Kennewick Mission.  We already love them and are excited to serve with them.  We have enjoyed becoming acquainted with them and are confident that they will become an effective instrument in the hands of the Lord in sharing the gospel with the people of Washington and Oregon.

We have assigned them a companion who is an experienced, devoted, and motivated missionary.  All of our missionaries understand that one of the greatest privileges available in the mission is to train a new missionary.  This first companion will be a special person in your missionary’s life and will help give them a great start here.

We feel that our greatest responsibility is the care and welfare of your child.  We want to assure you that we will be in regular contact with them.  We will be observant of their physical health, happiness and spiritual well being.  We will work closely with them throughout the mission to help them succeed and fulfill their calling as a representative of the Church and as an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Please be assured that we will be in contact with you if we encounter any concerns that would call for your attention.  We see you as a great asset to the success of your missionary while they are serving here and will work closely with you if the need arises.  You would help us immensely by informing us of any changes to address, phone number or email for you, your bishop or your stake president.  We want to keep our records current so that we can keep in touch whenever necessary.

Attached are photographs of your missionary taken with us at the welcome dinner at the mission home, along with a map of the mission.  Please feel free to contact us at the mission office with any questions that you may have.

Thank you for the sacrifices you are making at home to have your missionary in the field.  We have seen the Lord bless the families of missionaries who are serving in untold ways.  We know that His blessings will be upon you as well."

"Hey!  I just arrived in Pasco, Washington!  We met President and Sister Ware and the assistants at the airport here.  We drove with the assistants over to Kennewick and I am writing in a church building.  Wow.  It's been a whirlwind today!

The plane was pretty fun!  So cool to feel the take off and the feeling of flying in a plane.  Also cool to fly up in the clouds!  Pretty amazing!  I'm glad I got to phone you, mom!  That was great, too!

I am so tired right now! ha ha

My bags were the only ones missing out of the 21 new missionaries and everyone else on the plane...Turns out they were on another flight because it was a weight issue.  I will get them tonight....
It is warm here! I have yet to find out the temperature, but it is hot!  Not looking forward to that but it seems fun!  It is VERY flat here and reminds me of Nampa a bit!  I am safe and doing very well!  I love you!   ~Elder Brinkerhoff"

Hey Mom!

My first area is R. Wa. My companion is Elder Johnson (another Johnson ha!) and we have a walking area. No, my mission doesn't do online proselyting yet. We will most likely get to it in the spring. We have no car and don't even live in my area. We cover the D. ward and we have to walk for about 1/2 mile to get there. We live in a 2 part building/apt (not sure what the official name is haha) with an old couple in a different ward living on the other side. It's pretty good sized but doesn't have a dishwasher or laundry area. 

A lady named Sister H. is really nice and does our laundry on Monday! The members are great and I am very blessed to be here.  It's gotten MUCH cooler, but my 1st couple days here the weather was about 110 degrees. I thought I was going to die... (no working AC in the apt) It's gotten into the 70's-80's today!!!!!!

I love getting letters but I'm not sure what to do as far as all that goes. I don't think I'm technically allowed to write letters on any day except p-day so e-mail might just be the best way to go... I love getting mail, but It's just easier to respond online for me if you want to keep sending letters.. I don't know haha either way. We are limited shopping wise. We have Wal-Mart and Winco, and the Elders here typically go to Wal-mart because of Subway being free there. A member owns some of the stores and lets us get free food!

I'm at the family history center e-mailing with other elders haha! We had the biggest arrival group in awhile. Our pilot on the airplane said that we broke his missionary flight record haha! All except for like 4 in that picture they sent were on the same plane from SLC. Yes, I like flying! I loved it! It's so fun! Yeah, we went to Walmart to get food and bedding right after our transfer meeting where we were paired up and assigned. 

Yes I got the 2 packages! I honestly probably won't need the boots or umbrella but at least I have them! Thank you for all the music and treats! :) That was great! We have a portable DVD player that I can use to listen to music but we usually don't. My companion and other elders in the area are great. We are allowed to listen to "anything that brings the spirit" so they all play Disney music.... It's good music but doesn't bring the spirit most of the time...

My area is so small and that makes things tough. There's hardly anyone to teach and lots of people from other churches yell at us. Mostly the baptists. It's like everyone loves or hates us. Mission life is not fun. It's not unbearable but it's demanding and tough. I think it's just me though. I hate having a companion all the time because I can't have alone time. haha  It's okay though! Don't worry about me. I just have to get used to all these changes. I am not sure how I'm going to get through these next 2 years, but I'm not afraid with the Lord at my side. Someone has been carrying me though this whole experience. I feel very strengthened and blessed. I felt an overwhelming feeling of safety and comfort the second I walked into the MTC, and it hasn't left.

Sorry if I seem kinda lifeless and unexcited. I am really tired and it's tough being restricted to 1.5 hours of e-mailing with people talking all around me and with all the stress I have haha! I'm usually kinda grumpy in the morning.. Again it's nothing to worry about!! I'm just in the real world now and it's super weird.

I love you and really appreciate everything you've done to help me get here. I couldn't have done it without you. I hate being here but I love being here. It the weirdest feeling haha! It's not easy but I know I will look back on this experience and be glad I came and served here.


Elder Brinkerhoff

MTC Life

First letter and email from Elder Brinkerhoff:

"Hi!  I'm sending out a quick letter to you to let you know how I'm doing!  Things are very busy and fast-paced here at the MTC.  These past two days have felt like a week.  We've learned so much.  My companion is Elder Johnson.  He, I and 3 others in our district are going to Kennewick and it's a great bunch!  I will write more soon by email most likely.  I'm sorry, I wish I had more time to tell all about it.  We had loooooooong meetings today and we've barely had time to do anything we need to.  I am senior companion. :o)  Hope everything is going well!  I love you!"

(Typical day at the MTC!)

(The following email was a general email sent out to many people):


"They said we would all say that after my first day at the Missionary Training Center.  It was a whirlwind of new buildings, new people, new food, new experiences and a new life.

"I have never felt the spirit more strongly than here in the MTC. We have very long days, but they are worth it.  Each day feels like two.  I've only been here 6 days but it feels like forever.  Most of us are anxious to go to our missions and we can't wait to begin.  I don't know how people who are here 6--9 weeks learning languages do it!  They must be losing their minds.  ha ha!  The classes we have are intense, but so profound and helpful.  The instructors explain the MTC as a big fire hose in our faces and we're only able to catch a little water in our mouths to quench our thirst.  I'd say that's fairly accurate!

"Well, the language is coming along slowly but surely!

ha ha!

....just kidding.....

"My teaching skills are coming along slowly but surely.  We are being taught extensively from "Preach My Gospel" about teaching and there is much found within that inspired handbook that I've never realized.  My companion, Elder Johnson and I, have taught a few role-play discussions and tonight we are teaching either a real investigator or a recent convert.  The church pays people to come in to help us develop our teaching skills.  I'm sure grateful I've spent so much time with the Elders back home because it has been a big help during these role-plays.  My district is good and my companion is good too but we all have so much to learn over the next 8 days.

"There are a lot of headstrong 18 year old Elders and emotional 19 year old Sisters roaming the halls.  Sometimes they get a little weird.  I hope they give us classes on being mature and learning some things not to say...

"The buildings are numerous, very big and hard to get used to but you learn quickly.  We leave for Washington on Tuesday, July 15th.  Five in my district (including me) are heading to Washington, and the other 3 are going to Eugene, Oregon.  We've really bonded well over the past week.
(Going to Washington!)

"We've had the chance to attend some great conferences and devotionals.  I don't know if the church publishes the MTC conferences to Youtube, but you might try looking for them.  They have been great for anyone who listens!  We had a man named Josh Wright, who is a very accomplished pianist, play a few pieces for us last night and there have been many Sister and Elder musical numbers that have just been incredible.  There are many talented people here.  Many internationals come, too! They are very brave to come all the way to Provo!  We watched a previous devotional from Elder Bednar on "The Character of Christ" that was great!  Everyone needs to watch it.  We have "devos" on Sundays and Tuesdays.  I'm hoping a general authority comes while I'm here!

"The temple is closed until the day I leave (lame) but we went on a walk to the grounds and took pictures and stuff.  I have taken some pictures but not many yet.  There just hasn't been much time!  I thought there would be a place to insert my photo card on the computer but there's not so I'll have to send those a little later.
(Elder Brinkerhoff and Elder Johnson)

"The members of our district are very funny and crazy so life here is never boring, but many are slacking a bit unfortunately.  They are having a tough adjustment.  I surprisingly haven't had too hard of an adjustment here.  The hours we go to sleep and wake up are vastly different, but I've had no problem.  As long as you have something to laugh about during the day it usually helps you keep a positive mind.  Independence day here was cool!  We had a devotional about our founding fathers and the pioneers and then they showed us "17 Miracles" on the big screens as a surprise.  We were able to stay up late to watch the fireworks at the BYU football stadium from the gates of the MTC.

"Everyone should serve a mission.  All my life I thought it would be so hard!  It is a challenge, but at the same time it is so easy.  As long as you are doing what is right and have a Christ-like attitude, you have no problem!  There are a lot of good people here and I will miss them when it's my time to leave.  If you have any questions for me, I will get back to you next P-day!"

More Pictures at the MTC:

Exerpts from other MTC letters/emails:

"The MTC is both better and worse than I expected.  It definitely has its ups and downs but it's a good experience!  I highly recommend all who are approaching missionary age to go.  You only need sparks of a testimony and a willingness to grow.  Everyone is so helpful and kind.  It's a big family here and I will miss my district next week....Nowadays I feel it's so important for all young people to do it.  It is not easy, but it is worth it.  To explain how much it has helped me in just a week, I now feel that I only had sparks of a testimony and now it's a flame that is continuously spreading.  I learn something new everyday.  It is the best spiritual/learning experience I've ever had.  No high school seminary class or Sunday school lesson has done more than my MTC classes have.  It is beautiful how it works.  Looooooong classes where you learn the basics and how to teach simply; fake lessons/investigators that train you up and teach you so much; free, great food; a clean family environment; good  friends; great teachers and free time/personal time.  Oh!  and no one but teachers have cell phones so the classroom environment is so much more focused!  I love it!  It is amazing to see so many of these Elders learn and grow, too! My roommates, Elder Stevens and Elder Rosenkrantz are great guys and had a cool experience today.   Elder S. is from Mesa and has had a rough adjustment.  He wants to be a good missionary, but he isn't very confident.  Elder R. however is from Las Vegas and is full of confidence and will be a great teacher.  Elder R. prayed for Elder S. to progress and become better, even if it meant taking from himself to do it.  Well, for the past couple of days, Elder S. has been on fire!  Things are clicking with him and making sense and he does so well now.  Well, funny enough, Elder R. has had a horrible past couple of days.  He hides it well, but opened up to us today during class after asking our teacher Brother Fairclough if Elder S. could give him a blessing.  We all stood in on his blessing and it really helped Elder R. Find comfort through his struggles.  It was also Elder S's first time giving a blessing of that sort.  It was a pretty incredible feeling to see their bonding and interaction as companions.  They are both so fun and make us all laugh.  We have had 2 devotionals so far that have been amazing!  A man named Josh Wright came and performed a few piano solos for us.  He is a professional pianist and he blew us all away.  I'm not sure whether I've heard about him before, but I think I may have heard one of his songs on one of your CD's, Mom.  He did a beautiful arrangement of "Clair de Lune" and "How Great Thou Art", together in one piece that I love and I'm thinking you may have....Then, last night we had Neil L. Anderson come and speak to us about faith and things not seen.  It was a powerful message.  I tell ya!  There's nothing like being in the presence of an apostle of the Lord while he bears his testimony of Jesus Christ.  I was hoping for an experience like this before I left the MTC.  Apostles come quite often nowadays I hear.  He and his wife came straight from Europe just to speak to us and then went right back.  They obviously feel that speaking to us is important!  We were told by Brother Brown, from here in the MTC, that there is an Elder here who was feeling very discouraged and wanted to go home but they felt impressed to ask him to be a door usher last night.  He is going to a mission in South Dakota.  Well, when Elder Anderson was leaving, he stopped.  He went back over and shook the young Elder's hand and told him, "Best of luck to you in South Dakota, Elder."  Then he left.  How incredible of a story is that?  Elder Anderson was impressed to do that and knew where he was going without asking!  

I haven't felt the spirit more strongly than here in the MTC as a missionary.  I hope it stays with me through the rest of my mission.  I will do all I can to keep it with me as strong as it is now.  I bear witness to the power of prayer and the blessings of obedience.  I know that the Lord loves us and opens our minds when we do what he asks and I can name so many times where doing something hard has helped me so much.  I have never (and I say NEVER) gotten more out of the scriptures and "Preach My Gospel" in my my whole life than in this past week.  I can't believe it's already been a week tonight since I first got here and that in a week I will be in Washington.  The new missionaries arrived today and now we're the old group.  ha ha!  It's crazy how fast it goes.  Dork dots seem forever ago!

Things here have still been busy, but we've had a lot of free time now that the gym is closed for maintenance and because our "Teach Real Investigator" sessions are over.  We taught this guy that I'll tell more about in my email on Monday. It is really intense here.  You learn a lot and get forced out of your comfort zone very quickly.  We have so many practices that after a little more than a week I am pretty much a pro now at teaching.! ha ha  It's been incredible.  I've got the whole 1st lesson basically down and I know how to street contact and share a brief message.  It's pretty awesome.  We've had some interesting dynamics in our district and our zone lost half the people last Monday but we've really bonded and ended up gaining a lot more new zone members on Wednesday, dork dots and all! ha ha.  It feels weird to be in the old group now....   Oh!  Funny story...My district leader and his compaion locked themselves out of their residence today, but I'll get more into that in my email.  We also cleaned toilets.  So fun! 

Well, it's my last full day at the MTC.  I leave for Washington tomorrow.  My travel group is 22 missionaries in all and I heard it's the 2nd biggest this week.  We had our departure devotional last night where we all listened to President Nally and other MTC admins. speak.  It was great and we learned a lot!

We were so happy to learn yesterday that the Provo temple opened back up today.  Elder Johnson and I went and did an endowment session there this morning.  It was great to go and learn and feel the spirit.  It was very beautiful inside.  A temple worker said that this is one of the busiest temples in the world!  I was glad to be a part of that today!

This week, Elder J. and I had the opportunity to teach a man who is a member of the church, but he pretended to be an investigator for us.  We taught him 4 evenings and only got through lesson 1 because he talks so much, ha ha.  It was a great learning experience and we really learned and grew a lot from doing that.

We had in field training which was long and boring, but we learned a lot from that too.  

On Tuesday we were privileged to hear from Elder Anderson!! It was great!  He spoke about faith and the things felt but not seen.  My favorite part was when he bore his testimony about the Savior and His gospel.  They have a devo every Sunday and Tuesday.  Since we're leaving tomorrow just my luck Elder Holland or someone will come....ha ha  I don't even want to know who it is.
(Picture of Elder Anderson)

We had to say goodbye to our teacher, Sister Hutchings, this week.  She served a mission in Houston, Texas, and now teaches here.  She brought a lot of great insight and knowledge to our minds and helped us a lot.  We will miss her class.  We will say goodbye to Brother Fairclough (pronounced like "bear-claw") tonight.  He is an amazing teacher too!  Sad times....We have been teaching them this week, too.  Sister H. pretended to be a woman named Shannon and Brother F. pretended to be Brady.
(Elder B. and Sister Hutchings)

(Elder B. and Brother Fairclough)

On Friday, our district leader and his companion both locked themselves out of their residence halls while they were showering and didn't have any roommates around to let them in, so we had to go get a key for them.  They didn't have any shoes or name tags or anything so it was pretty funny.  Kinda embarrassing to have to ask for a key to another room though. ha ha!

We had several times this week where some of our district members felt extremely discouraged and had the opportunity to stand in on blessings their companions gave them.  It's been great to see how everyone bonds and develops as mature people and friends.  Especially in such a short time here.

On Sunday, we had a crazy moment where I ran into an Elder Brinkerhoff from Utah.  We asked each other where the other was going and he is going to Washington, too!  Different mission, though.  Turns out his companion (also named Elder Johnson) is going there, too!  What the heck?  It was so crazy that we had to get pictures with each other.  It was pretty funny!  I've even ran into 3 people I know here!  Didn't expect that!  
 (Seeing double!  Elders Brinkerhoff, and Elders Johnson! ha ha)

(Elder Brinkerhoff and Elder Nic Poulsen from Nampa!)

We do a lot of role-plays here.  This week at one point we role played a missionary helping a member of the church to role play asking a less active friend of the fake member in the role play to help the  less active member come back to church during the role play.  Uh, lets just say it was confusing then adn it still is....

We had a devotional at the Marriot Center of BYU where we listened to Richard I. Heaton speak.  He used to be  the President of the Washington, Spokane mission and he now works at the MTC.  Lots of members of my zone left for Australia this morning and it was sad to see them go.  Lots of good people here.  

I really wish I had more time to write but these are the highlights.  I had so many great experiences this week.  Thanks to all who have contacted me!  I love getting mail either through email or letters.  Love, Elder Brinkerhoff."

(Heading out)

Miserable Joy

I don't know why...I suppose I just never thought too much about it before...but until Dean started working on his missionary application, I didn't realize what an emotional experience it would be sending my child off to serve a mission (and this coming from ME--Miss Emotional).  I guess I just always focused on the joyful aspect of it.  I was not prepared for the emotional roller coaster I found myself on.  "Miserable Joy" is how a friend described the feelings of sending a child on a mission.  Looking back now, I can see that the "lead up" to the MTC drop off was the worst for me.  Lots of tears and heartache knowing that he was all grown up now and leaving the nest.  Knowing I wouldn't see him for two years didn't help either.  I'm doing much better though, now that Elder Brinkerhoff is out on his mission and doing well.  I have emotional moments now and then, but mostly I feel comfort and peace. 

I don't know what it is about rainbows, but they always seem to bring comfort, and a feeling that everything is going to be OK.  This is the scene we were met with upon returning "home" (to my Sister-in-law's house) after taking Elder Brinkerhoff to the MTC.  

Chanon and I decided to return to Salt Lake, and Temple Square, after picking up our van from the shop (I really need to do a blog post about that story--it was without a doubt a real miracle and a missionary blessing).  We wanted to spend some time alone in a special, sacred place after the experiences of the day, and also finish up what we didn't have time to do the day before.  It was a wonderful experience, and helped us feel close to our son.

We went to the Church History Museum.  I really love that place!  This is one of the could I not take a picture of a display of missionaries?!!! ha ha

We also took a tour of the Beehive house (no pictures of that), and the Conference Center. We were the only two people in our Conference center tour.  Also, our tour guide was on the last day of his mission and he really gave us a deluxe tour! This is such an incredible building.  I love these pictures I took of the interior...

 The following pictures were taken on the roof of the building...

This is what it's all about!
(This awesome picture was taken of Elder Brinkerhoff by his aunt, Heidi Brown)

As difficult as it was in the beginning to send my boy off for 2 years, 
I love being a Missionary Mom!