Monday, August 29, 2016

P-day fun!

Yesterday's Talk in Church

First Mission talk in church:

I've born my testimony once, but yesterday was the first time I had to give a talk.  This is what I said...

Good morning, brothers and sisters. As already mentioned, my name is Sister Brinkerhoff (you can call me Sister B if that is easier) :).  I was corralled up here today to talk of some of the experiences I have had so far as a missionary for this wonderful church.  I'm just going to say right now, I can't tell you how hard it's been, BUT I can say that I have no regrets considering this choice.  Allow me to explain.

I haven't traveled much.  I was born and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona (the COLD part), and that's where I've been the majority of my life.  Lot's of beautiful scenery and good people, but also a lot of competition that can be overwhelming.  I've never fit into any real category or cliche, like being upbeat, super smart, athletic, popular, social, all that jazz.  While none of those traits are bad, in fact they are great talents, I don't feel like I have to fit in on anything on earth unless it has meaning for me or is a part of eternal life. Unfortunately I still need to have a word to describe me in the 'social world', and the #1 word used by others to describe me is (insert drum roll), yes, is SHY.  Yeah yeah so it's clear that I'm very quiet and reserved, but you would be too if you did everything you could to change that and progress, only to be shot down by someone who tells you to speak up or smile more or whatever.  I'm still working on it.  

So what does this have to do with the topic? Missionary work.  Now that's a word that scared me before coming here!  Think about it: I, the quiet girl in the corner at school with no close friends, was supposed to share the gospel with the few friends I actually had?  Most of which were non-members?  The natural-WOMAN in me kept thinking, "why would I ever risk that? They would probably just get annoyed and ignore me if I did!"  So I continued to keep my mouth shut, which is what I did best.  And it was the worst mistake of my life.  

If I couldn't deny my religion but also couldn't share with them, then I couldn't tell them how I really feel and what I wish they could know.  I couldn't even talk about what I did on weekends!  Long story short, I never became close enough to anybody to actually understand I was wrong and help them.

I still pray for my friends often and hope one day that Heavenly Father will give me another chance.  But enough about me.  Let's talk about our friends.  While I'm sure that you may have heard this a million times, we unknowingly are examples to them.  They know we are members and wonder if we actually live what we teach.  Sometimes there are those who scoff and scorn, and others can become interested.  But we can never know the latter for a surety unless we are willing to open our mouths to them and help them learn more about the church.  Trust me when I know that this whole concept sounds daunting.  There have been times when I knew that some of my friends were really uninterested and I shuddered at the thought of Elders or Sisters showing up on their doorstep.  What we all have to remember, as many prophets and apostles have taught, is that people are not just an object, a number or a baptismal statistic.  They are spiritual sons and daughters of Heavenly Father, and the Lord wishes to pour spiritual blessings to them.  Dieter F. Uchtdorf once taught that (not exact wording) when we open our umbrellas we blot out those blessings.  I we give in to peer pressure and keep to our own comfort zone, putting up that umbrella, we are not being the example that Jesus Christ knows we can be.  Instead, we can follow Christ's path to eternal life along with those we love (and even those who persecute us).  

A friend from home recently sent me a letter and I loved what she wrote!  To quote, "I was reading 2nd Nephi 4 one morning from verse 15 to end.  It's crazy to think that Nephi thought of himself as a sinner and wretched man!  Bu the is a true example of how to be--acknowledge our weakness but not to let it drag us down, be humble and completely rely on God and maintain focus on all the ways God has His hand in our lives everyday.  Nephi's amazing!"  Nephi's example can also be useful in 2 Nephi 33:7-9. "I have charity for my people, and great faith in Christ that I shall meet many should spotless at his judgement-seat.  I have charity for the Jew- I say Jew, because I mean them from whence I came.  I also have charity for the Gentiles.  But behold, for none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the day of probation."  When I read Nephi's tender words, I find it hard to believe that he was weak in writing.  Yet he thought that to be true, he still humbled himself to write as he was called to do so by the Lord, and He helped him write wonders.

I may have the opposite problem of Nephi (I would much rather write than speak), but I have been called to serve what the townspeople here in Ucon call Zion! :)  My weaknesses will be made strong if I have faith in Him.  I'm not the only one called to serve here.  All of you have a divine potential to lift others up and serve those in need.  If we have charity like our Savior, Jesus Christ, and have faith to overcome our faults, we will be able to bring others to Him in ways we could never have imagined before.  And how great shall be our joy!  All we are asked to do is open our mouths to invite others.  I testify that I know this gospel is true, that Jesus is the Christ, and that through Him we will be able to do all things.  And I say that humbly in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.   ************************

A Month of Email Excerpts

Hi everyone!  It's going to take a while to respond to letters, I hope you don't mind.  Being with my trainer has been a blast and I've been able to get to know the people in this area better.  It's a miracle that I can remember names! Now I have to apologize again because i'm not the best with questions on how the work is going, but it's going.  We lost an investigator last week and things have been hard, but I've appreciated the prayers sent my way.  I know I'm not the most sociable person on the planet, but I am feeling more confident in my personal skills without feeling like I have to change my personality.  For a while I had trouble with recognizing the Spirit. But because the stress is lightening I've been more at peace.
 Thank you for the prayers!  We've felt many blessings this past week. Sister S. and I received blessings from the Zone Leaders because we were feeling stressed (particularly my companion).  I don't remember all the details because of my bad memory, but I wrote what I remembered down in my journal.  I'll tell you what I learned from it in a letter, but it was great and I knew their priesthood power was from God without a doubt.  Ha ha luckily things haven't been too awkward lately.  I invited someone to be baptized, and he said, in his own words, "of course!  That's the plan!" :)  He's a little older and has had trouble remembering to read the scriptures, so we're not sure about setting a date quite yet.  
I had an interesting week.  Don't be alarmed when you see the pics!  Sister S. and I are perfectly fine, but our car got in a wreck.  We were teaching someone while her kids were playing with their dogs outside, and one of them came in and told us that the car had been hit.  We thought he was just joking, but nope.  A Dominoes delivery guy accidentally backed into the car!  Luckily the rest of the car wasn't damaged and it's still safe to drive, but the cost to repair it is about $2,600.  We're figuring it out, and the delivery guy was nice enough to stay so that we could figure everything out.  The other picture was us just being silly city girls who had never lived on a farm their entire lives. 
Thank you for the letters!!!  I will hopefully send a response today.  I've just been all over the place and I don't want to write letters during my studying and planning time. I had a fun time golfing with some of the missionaries in my zone. 

Sister B. with President and Sister Nelson

Sister B's arrival at the IF airport (backrow under the Flag poster).  This was the first group of new MTC Missionaries to arrive in the Idaho Falls Mission!

Sister B and Sister F on exchanges.  This picture was sent to me by a friend in Idaho who used to live in our ward here in AZ.  She was signed up to feed the missionaries the day that Sister B was on exchanges, so she got to see her! 

Japanese candy from Sister F

Sister B's study room

Sister Brinkerhoff with Sister S.

Playing golf on P-day

Farm life

Domino's delivered a smashing blow to the car:

Fire near Ririe, ID