~This letter was started on January 15th, and was finished and mailed first part of February~
Feels like I haven't had any spare time at all to even think about home, let alone write a letter! (You're probably very grateful for weekly e-mail!). A whole month has gone by and this transfer is almost to a close. Can't even believe it! I loved your box with the letter and candy and stuff! I needed it that day. It arrived just when I needed it!
Heard that you all were sick for a while. Glad to hear you are feeling better, though! Lots of people up here are sick and I am so blessed to still be in good health with all the time I spend out in the cold! We are usually out ALL day everyday....with a few exceptions for church, P-day and weekly planning of course. We're hitting the streets and knocking doors endlessly in search of new investigators. This area is really struggling in the missionary department. We are striving to help this ward grow but it sure isn't easy.
A lot has happened since December! Anything you want me to go into more detail about? "C's" baptism was amazing and "B's" baptism ALMOST happened....but I'm glad he was honest and didn't lie in his interview....now we have another investigator named "A", who is scheduled for February 7th to be baptized. She is really cool.
Anything I should take pictures of? I've been trying to think of really cool mission picture ideas to take while I can! If you can think of anything, or see something online that is cool, let me know! It's hard to find cool things to do here....It's pretty open and empty up here more north. Tri-Cities was definitely a more happening place to be. I'm kinda hoping I won't be in Yakima too long...Hope I get into the Kennwick Mission when the split happens! Richland was a great place to be. I will miss all the fun times with so many great members. I've made lifelong friends there and I definitely want to visit one day. So many wonderful people! It makes me so sad that I had to leave, actually....It's a feeling I can't describe.
Almost seven months into it now! It feels pretty good to be at this point already! There was a time when time took forever, but now I'm finding that everything is going pretty fast! I only have one more Birthday, Christmas and Thanksgiving! Then I'll be home (but I'm not thinking too much about that). I'm just trying to enjoy every moment. Missionary life isn't as tough as I expected but it's definitely something I don't want to live under my entire life...It's a great experience but it sure is nice to have personal time to yourself and to be able to do what you want to do. It sure is nice to be somewhat turned away from most worries of the world, though! We just have different kinds of worries! ha ha! You really get a different, more real perspective on life and the church especially. You see the flaws in the members of the church and you see the strengths. You see how much the Elders and sisters do behind the scenes and how much a lot of what they do goes unappreciated by the members as a whole. Now, I'm not saying I want recognition or a pat on the back or anything. It's just opened my eyes to all that the missionaries do and deal with and how it's the best ones that do so with a smile on their face. I will do my best to give as much help to the missionaries after my mission!
Yep! President Eyring and I were matching at the Christmas Devotional! I have a much different tie collection than I had when I came out. I will take a picture for you of them. :o)
This mission thing sure is an adventure and I think it's either going too slow or too fast! I'm devoted whole heartedly now to encouraging all who can and are prepared spiritually to serve a mission. It is hard to leave home and be away from all that is familiar to you at first and it is a tough adjustment to live mission rules for some but once you've done it, it's the best. You only get stronger and are more richly blessed for your service than you can imagine. I've never been happier or more in tune with the spirit. It has been the greatest choice I've ever made in my life and even though Yakima is a sketchy place, I look forward to what is in store for me! It's not a place I want to be forever...pray my time here is short! :o) We've been safe, but seen some weird things for sure! I practically save this one old veteran's life this week! We came up to a crosswalk that went through a VERY busy street and there was a veteran in a power chair sitting there waiting to cross too. We said "hi" and began a quick conversation, but he was hard of hearing and it was loud outside. Finally we all crossed the street. As we did, the veteran tried to make it up onto the sidewalk but didn't go far enough up and onto the sidewalk so he was riding the corner with one side on the street and he almost fell right into the traffic! I handed my Book of Mormon to Elder "C" and ran over to him. I grabbed his chair and told him to "stop!" because next he tried to back up....straight into oncoming cars!!!! I told him to back up slowly as I held onto his chair to guide it backwards and then up onto the sidewalk. Then he went on his merry way...didn't say a word. Kinda crazy! Hopefully he made it to where ever he was going!
People tell us all the time to be careful when we're outside, but we've never had problems before. We hear frequently of people getting shot and killed just by walking around here, but we've never felt threatened or in danger before....We are definitely blessed! I think this area is mostly to give me experience in perseverance and listening to the spirit, if nothing else. We have a huge area that takes forever to walk in. It's an hour plus to get to either side from our house. One side of our area is very poor and sketchy. We can't go past a certain point past sundown. President Ware instituted that rule after a Spanish Missionary and his companion got out of their car and saw someone pull out a gun and begin shooting randomly into the air. That happened on "C" Avenue, and I'm on that street all the time! Super crazy....
Elder "C" is cool! He's quiet like me so it's been challenging for the both of us but it's helped us both grow a lot. He's only got one transfer left. I anticipate being with him for that, but he's hoping to go to Pasco (his first area) to finish off. He's only been in this ward one transfer longer than me, so we're both still trying to figure this place out. It really should be either a bike or car area, but we're cool with walking. Our apartment is pretty nice! It's good sized and we have our own laundry and dishwasher so I'm very happy! Much nicer than the little apartment in Richland. Our new district and Zone are pretty cool! We're all dealing with struggling areas, though. We all have a good time at district meetings.
Thanks for the Proverbs! I enjoy those. I'm reading through all the standard works along with the study manuals you sent. It's so helpful and pretty cool to read everything they give background and insight into. I'm probably going to send some back once I'm through though, because they are great but we are told to focus mainly on the Book of Mormon and New Testament as missionaries. Plus, all that weight from the books adds to my stuff! ha ha
Yes! I did enjoy the advent calendar! That was fun and something to help keep me entertained everyday for sure! We need stuff like that to keep us going! I think that's about all for now...until next time! Hopefully I'll still be alive! ha ha--don't worry about me, I'll be fine!
Hey Mom! Doing great! The weather is beautiful here and I am loving it! Just had transfers on Wednesday and Elder "P" is my new companion! He's from Sandy Utah and he's a great Elder. We are excited. Good things are happening and we are amazed. We exceeded our OYM goal (Open your mouth) and we've made a lot of great contacts with this beautiful outside weather! We are loving it!February 9th
I loved your letter too! I look forward to your package! That is crazy to hear about your calling! That is exciting!
This transfer will be great! Elder "P" is a spiritual giant and he is very bold! I love his excitement and we work well together. These first few days together have been great and we've seen much success already! We've helped "B" make it to church activities (church, a baptism and Preach My Gospel discussions) and he is gearing up again to be baptized. He loves the gospel and has such a strong testimony. "A" is another investigator who is close and her testimony is great too! Lots of exciting things are happening. Elder "P" and I have plans to help this area and the members share the gospel by bringing the spirit into their homes and challenging them to extend invitations to their friends. We received 3 new referrals this week and we have contacted 2 of them so far! Those are rare. We had a very effective Weekly planning and we are gearing up for more teaching and more opposition. Things are going super well and we are excited! I know that this gospel is real and that it changes lives. I'm grateful for that knowledge and I hope that you have a great week!
Love, Elder Brinkerhoff
Here's Elder "C" and I as he's heading to Duportail!
Elder "L" (ZL Headed to Kennewick)
Found this at Taco bell haha Too bad I'm no longer "green"!
Yay! I have about half an hour unless I can get on again at the family history center a little later. I have a bad cold! I've been feeling better today but I've been laying down not doing anything for the past 2 days. I suffered through church yesterday so we could teach a class and help "A" (investigator) get some help from the Bishop.February 2nd
Also! It's transfers this week and Elder "C" is going to Duportail! What the heck? haha I'm receiving Elder "P" from Sandy Utah. I've been out one transfer more than him
Hey Mom!January 26th--Hey Mom! Our week was okay. We are doing straight tracting practically everyday with not a whole lot happening... We do have a couple potential investigators left but most of them have dropped off...
Stake calling in public affairs huh? How did I get you into it? haha! What's it all about?
"B" is doing well. He just won't be baptized for awhile. He wants to finish the Book of Mormon entirely.
Here's what broke on my bag... (See the picture)
I am almost done with your letter!
Here's my apartment:
We've eaten at McDonald's 3 times in the past 2 weeks....yuck!!!!!
We had interviews with President Ware on Wednesday and he said he's seen a lot of growth in me on the past few months. I sure hope so! Although, I'm not sure him noticing that is a good or bad thing.. haha I don't really want a leadership calling..
"B" wasn't baptized unfortunately. Something came up in his interview on Friday that postponed it and we aren't sure what's going on entirely. I'll go more in depth in a letter..
That is crazy about your Twilight Zone moment! Freaky! And thanks for Br. W's obituary!
My sidebag broke this week... I'm trying to make it work though. Maybe be on the lookout for another one....SOON!
Wish I had more time! I love you! Have a great week!
Love, Elder B.
It was an exciting week!