Just to let you know... It's a VERY emotional and bittersweet week for me in the Washington Yakima Mission full of lots of memories.
This week began with the news that my dear friend Brian Kisner had passed away. This is news that came only soon after I was given word that another dear friend Mike Gilbert had suffered a heart attack. I found out last p-day from a Zone leader currently serving in second ward and also Elder Thompson that Brian had passed away while traveling in Idaho over the Christmas break. Christmas Eve was his last day on Earth. I had the wonderful opportunity to attend his funeral this morning and be reunited with my Yakima 2nd ward family. The funeral was presided over and conducted by Bishop Christensen: A very spiritual giant and one of my heroes. He bore powerful testimony of the Savior and His love for us. Brian's powerful passion for life was remembered by his loving mother and his son. They had many wonderful memories to share with us and lots of laughs from his former days fixing up and riding motorcycles! That made me very happy. We enjoyed a luncheon afterwards with lots of catching up and friendly faces to remember while I felt down. I was looking much forward to when Brian would be able to receive his endowment in the Columbia River Temple in a few months but I know that God has other plans for this great man! :) I love him and my Heavenly Father very much.
Elder Brinkerhoff and Brian at Brian's baptism
Thursday brought many needed changes to the Mission leadership in a "Super Mission Leadership Conference" with all of the Zone leaders, District Leaders, Sister Training Leaders and the Assistants. Our follow up with the Elders and Sisters in our varied stewardships will be much improved and clear. We are getting away from the mixed cultures from the WKM and WVM and building the culture of the WYM together. It was great to reunite with former companions and missionary friends and to learn about these much needed improvements. These changes brought many answers to many of my prayers. However... I received a phone call from President Lewis on Saturday letting me know that my service as a District Leader will be coming to an end and that I will be transferred to Moses Lake 4th and 7th wards. It is a relief to be released but a sad thing as well. I will be serving with a young missionary named Elder Poloncic from Utah. He came out twelve weeks ago with Elder Peterson and has also just finished up his training period. It is a biking area! It will definitely be an adventure and I will be sad to leave Yakima but I will return in a few months ;)
'K' is doing very well and still understanding and learning a lot! I hope he is on date for baptism again soon!
I'm glad that I am here on my mission. If I was home now, I could be at school. I could be earning money. I could be dating. (I could be watching STAR WARS!!!) I could be living life selfishly, but I am grateful for my Loving Father in Heaven who has led me here and let me have these experiences. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I devote my life to Him. This week has been hard, but because of Him, I will continue to... "...Press Forward with a Steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20)
I miss Brian Kisner dearly, but the peace and love that I feel right now is so sweet.