Monday, December 28, 2015

(Christmas Skype)

Dear Mom,

I'm glad I was able to see you guys, too! I was worried that the video on your end wouldn't be received on my end. While Bishop and his daughter were up there trying to fix it I was pretty worried but as soon as they left it worked, ha ha! We had fun at the Bishop's house on Christmas.

What exciting news to hear that the transfer schedule will be moved back a week! I'm glad that I will be able to spend another week in the WYM! I will now be coming home July 5th.

This week was interesting. We had a couple of great lessons with 'K' who is on date for January 9th in the YSA branch. He is an incredibly prepared young man. He is so ready for the gospel and for the blessings that come when we live the commandments. Christmas made things extremely difficult. Not many people were home or able to have us this week but we're hoping that this week is much better. We've really been working on helping our ward mission leader and ward council feel more empowered in the work by inviting families in the ward who could benefit from the lessons to meet with us. They are working SLOWLY but things are starting to fall into place. We've also been weeding out our Potential investigators and referrals this week and cleaning up past lists of names that are no longer interested. Had a lot of success doing that this week and now we can focus on finding more of the elect! 

The District is doing well. We are going to focus this week on Rushing to the Restoration now that the A Savior is Born initiative has wound down. 

What a crazy story with the backpack guy at the movies! haha! So Star Wars was clean? I hope it was. It sounds really good and I'm ticked that stuff has been spoiled for me. I heard that the plot is a lot like a New Hope, that Han Solo dies and that no one knows Rey's backstory yet. I can't wait to see it for myself and I hope no more spoilers come my way! ha ha

Thanks for the pictures! That's a funny story about the Elders at your house. I always think it's awkward to teach people in members homes unless the members invite the investigator. Oftentimes the missionaries get stuck with taking care of things like that.

Any updates about Emily and her mission from the paperwork? Does she have an availability date yet? I'm excited for her!

We are going to begin teaching a young man named 'I' this week and we are super excited! His older brother and older Sister live in Selah and they are amazing. They are like the coolest people ever! The older brother comes out with us every week to go on visits and he's been through a lot. 'I' hasn't been active so now we are going to help him become active! Wish us the best this week! New Years ought to be interesting since we can't proselyte those days. 

I love you! Have a great week!!

Yakima is home to "wonderful" establishments like this (yah, that's sarcasm!):

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas everyone! This week has been quite eventful serving in the Ahtanum Creek ward and the Yakima Valley YSA!

On Monday we invited "K" to be baptized. He has been coming to YSA activities for about a year now and finally is open to learning more about the church. He's got a religious background and really enjoys coming to our meetings. He is now on date to be baptized on January 9th 2016. That's the day we get our next transfer calls so I hope nothing comes up that makes it so it has to be pushed back... So far so good! 

The "N's" are struggling a little bit. We're still keeping up contact with them and we're hoping things calm down for them during the holidays!

On Tuesday I went on exchanges with Elder Johnson. We contacted a referral that they got for someone named "C". We taught him about the restoration and invited him to read the Book of Mormon and to be baptized. He accepted the challenge to read and pray but fought the baptism thing hard even though we could tell he felt the spirit. Turns out he's a Young Single adult so he's mine :) Elder Johnson wasn't too happy about that but we have a return appointment at 6:30 tomorrow. I conducted my 1st District Council Meeting for this transfer that day as well.

Wednesday was the huge Christmas get together for the south half of the mission! It was at Brother and Sister Tree's house up in Yakima 2nd ward. Pretty crowded but fun! Got to see a ton of my old missionary pals! Some who were going home this week! It was great to see them! 

Thursday we did some service at a local food bank for a couple hours. On Saturday we went to Northwest harvest to sort fruit. Those are service opportunities we frequent each week. 

Friday was Elder Peterson's 19th Birthday so we went to Pizza Hut for dinner. He got a gift card from his Sister. 

Saturday I went on an exchange with Elder Bird. He is great! We worked a lot on OYM's and on discerning other people's needs. 

Sunday was great! We enjoyed 2 sacrament meetings full of Christmas messages and overall our meetings were amazing and very full of the spirit. Christmas is the best! After Church we knocked on someone's door and they let us right in! It was neat! It was an older couple who love missionaries from any church! They gave us cookies and let us share a Christmas message and the new Christmas website with them. They said they are going to share it with their grandkids and have them watch the videos. Pretty great! 

Today it is snowing like crazy! We're getting much more that we did last year. That's for sure! At least we'll have a white Christmas! Hope you all have a merry Christmas and don't forget to keep it focused on the Birth of our Savior. I invite you to think of someone you could share this great website with as well! It's short, easy, simple and extremely powerful! 

Love Elder Brinkerhoff

Pictures from the Mission Christmas party:

Monday, December 14, 2015

This week has been a great one!

This week has been a great one! Yes we are over our sickness now. I'll most likely get your package at our Christmas conference on Wednesday! I'm sure it will be great! Looking forward to it!!
We're continuing to teach 'K' in the YSA branch and he is loving what he is learning! He was very receptive to the Plan of Salvation! He loved our thoughts and feelings of the Savior we had to share with him! We are meeting with him tonight and we feel strongly that he is ready to be put on date for baptism! Pray for us and we'll see what happens! We also had a great visit with 'J' and 'Y' Norris. They have been investigating the church for awhile now but things are looking up! 'J' lost his job this week which is not a good thing but it may be a blessing in disguise! Their Sundays are now free and so we are doing all we can to help them come to church! We had a great discussion with them on the importance on the Sabbath Day and all that we should do on it. They were planning on coming yesterday but they weren't able to make it unfortunately.
We went on exchanges with Elders Johnson and Oliverson and we had a great time! We focused on OYM's and sharing the new 'A Savior is Born' initiative and we saw a lot of success!

Love you! Have a great week! Love Elder Brinkerhoff

Just got a haircut today!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Merry Christmas from Elder Brinkerhoff!

Doctrine of Christ Training (From Sister Lewis' blog)

Doctrine of Christ Training

2015-12-8 (1)This morning we had Doctrine of Christ training here at the Mission Home for everyone in the south half of the mission who arrived about 6 weeks ago.  It’s so fun to see everyone settling into the good work and having wonderful experiences.  You can see by their faces how happy they are.2015-12-8 (17)2015-12-8 (19)It’s hard to tell who’s been here longer and who’s new–they all look comfortably experienced!2015-12-8 (32)2015-12-8 (12)2015-12-8 (5)2015-12-8 (7)2015-12-8 (10)2015-12-8 (38)2015-12-8 (8)2015-12-8 (30)2015-12-8 (11)2015-12-8 (18)2015-12-8 (13)The Chandlers drove down from Omak to attend the trainings today.  They’ll be here with us a couple of days.2015-12-8 (6)2015-12-8 (36)2015-12-8 (29)2015-12-8 (14)2015-12-8 (33)2015-12-8 (34)2015-12-8 (20)2015-12-8 (35)2015-12-8 (22)We bake lots of cookies in this house!2015-12-8 (24)2015-12-8 (40)2015-12-8 (4)2015-12-8 (25)2015-12-8 (16)In our training today, Elders Carter and Krogue taught about Agency, Obedience and Repentance.  They are masterful teachers.
I taught from 2 Nephi 31-33 about the Doctrine of Christ.  We talked about language and the tongue of angels, about fulfilling all righteousness and about layered witnesses in our scriptures.  We also talked about the symbolism of the strait and narrow gate as we discussed faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  The doctrine of Christ is beautiful doctrine.
President Lewis taught about how to effectively teach this Doctrine of Christ.  We talked about how you can recognize if someone is living this doctrine.  It shows in their countenance.  They are happy, open, changing, repenting, turned outward, they serve others, they have a glow, they trust, they are improving and they are humble.
He taught that our words must be confirmed by His Spirit.  Our love for the Lord must be our overriding motivator, and answers to prayer about the truth of what we teach must come from God through personal revelation.
Elders Wilkey and Rosenkrantz (local ZLs) also taught and helped conduct role plays to help everyone practice the things we learned.  It was a wonderful morning!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Hi Mom! 
Our week was alright. I got sick, though. I could feel the effects of it starting that morning so I asked Elder Peterson to give me a blessing to make it through the day. He did and I did make it through the day. However the next day I woke up and went back to sleep immediately because of how crappy I felt haha. I slept most of Thursday... It sucked! I had a sinus infection or something. Super congestion and sore throat but it got better by the next day. No sore throat but I still have slight congestion and a super gross smell in my nose. Kind of a grody week! However last Monday we started teaching a new investigator named "K"! He's pretty cool! We are meeting with him again tonight! He was referred to us by a YSA named Jared who just returned from his mission about 2 months ago. We are doing it quietly because he doesn't want pressure from the other YSA's. He's been coming to FHE and institute for about a year now and is thinking about going to BYU-I so he wants to join the church if it's right for him! How cool is that? My being sick meant we had to cancel our meeting with him on Thursday, so I was annoyed of that... It ruined my day for sure!
I love your package though! I appreciate it! You will be hopefully receiving a package on Friday as well! I just sent one this morning too! :) You will find inside: Christmas cards! Books! Pictures! A computer mouse and misc cords! My Mission Call! A DVD! Old Letters & papers! Ties! Socks! Lightsaber! So exciting right? 
Found out I will be going to family on Christmas! We're spending the day with Bishop Kimzey and his family (He and I are 4th cousins... I told you right?) We will skype there and President let us know it's 45 minutes max...What time would you like me to skype you? I will be able to call you the day before of course to set it up. 
The Devo was pretty good. I loved Elder Bednar's talk about how Christ is the Light. I learned a lot!! I worry about President Monson as well... I have a feeling we will be seeing President Nelson replace him soon (Or whoever becomes the next prophet anyway...) 
That blog sounds cool! And I can't believe you saw the Pizza planet truck! That's so cool! I would love to see that in person. 
Have you guys seen the new Christmas initiative website? The videos are alright but we are excited for the new focus on Christmas this month! We received new pass along cards for "A Savior is Born" and we are sharing it with everyone at dinners and door approaches and everything!!! I love Christmas. I just can't wait until I can be with you guys next year!! Can't believe how close I am to being home! The senior couples are all teasing me about not having a license yet and they tell me that I'm going to be like Tom Hanks in the movie Terminal haha I haven't seen it but I've heard about it. Elder Thompson said I could stay with them though if I get stuck here haha
Well, I LOVE YOU! BYE! Have a great week!
-Elder B

Elder Burbank and I at the mission home the day before he got transferred to Cle Elum in the Selah zone :'(

Elder Painter and I outside the mission home

We took some funny pictures last night with our Christmas tree (Elder P bought it all total for like, $25)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

New Missionary Exchanges with the Local Missionaries

2015-12-1 (105)The next 2 hours these new missionaries made more friends as our missionaries who are serving in local areas came to the mission home to pick them up and take them out to work.  There is no better way to get past any worries or anxious feelings about actually going to work, than to actually go to work.  2015-12-1 (106)2015-12-1 (109)2015-12-1 (118)2015-12-1 (124)2015-12-1 (113)2015-12-1 (107)

Elder Brinkerhoff (center):
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Elder Brinkerhoff (2nd from right):
2015-12-1 (114)n2015-12-1 (135)2015-12-1 (128)
Elder Brinkerhoff (2nd from left):
2015-12-1 (130)2015-12-1 (110)2015-12-1 (111)2015-12-1 (126)2015-12-1 (120)2015-12-1 (129)2015-12-1 (133)2015-12-1 (117)2015-12-1 (104)2015-12-1 (119)After having some wonderful and even some miraculous experiences, we all gathered together again to share what happened.  This is one of the best parts of our day.  Fear and worry turn to love and excitement when new missionaries actually start meeting the people here.  Everyone’s hearts came back larger.  It was sweet.2015-12-1 (141).JPG2015-12-1 (143)2015-12-1 (140)2015-12-1 (142)