Thursday, December 28, 2017

Departing Missionary Temple Trip

The Mission President and his wife take all the missionaries on a trip to the Idaho Falls Temple right before they leave to go home.  Sister Brinkerhoff will be home in about 3 weeks, so it was her turn to go yesterday!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December 2017 Email Excerpts

December 4th:

Good Morning Mom!
Yes, I'm staying in my trio again! Sister Smith was with Sister Brimhall after her companion went home, but now Sister Brimhall is training. I'm a little sad that I won't train on my mission, but I'm happy in my trio. They're easy to get along with. :)  Sister Lewis doesn't want to kill me. :)  I guess I'm just sad because I feel like my confidence has grown and I'm more comfortable at talking to people (not perfectly-but I can still do my job), but nobody seems to notice. Sister Smith is wonderful, don't get me wrong, but President Nelson assumed that Sister Lewis and I would struggle after she was split from us. He kept asking who was leading out and encouraged us to have confidence even though we were already doing that. It's kind of frustrating.  But I guess the most important thing I want to happen on my mission is what I need to do (like what my purpose for being in this mission is). Well, we are planning a fireside for this Sunday, so I'm hoping we can practice what we will be saying and show President Nelson that we have confidence already.  Sorry, I feel like I'm venting now.

You can tell Nathan and Sarah I met Buddy the Elf last Friday!! :) I don't know if they still believe in Santa or not, but they might think that's cool. :) He helped us with missionary work ha ha! So to explain, we had a light the world table set up at a mini mall that had Santa, Buddy and entertainment going on. BTW, the chocolate you sent me was very useful! I asked for permission to leave them in the basket on the table, and there were parents who loved the idea of either letting their kids have candy or share it with somebody they know. :) But to continue, Buddy ran up the stairs with a family and suddenly stopped at our table. He asked if Sister Lewis and I had any presents, and we were so confused! I'm like,"we have candy and water" ha ha! Then he asked if he could take some of the pass along cards. :) Who can say no to that?! That was a fun day ha ha! We've had fun applying the light the world ideas into our finding goals. It really warms people's hearts, and I know why. We're told in the Book of Mormon that when we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of God, and I know A LOT of people that want to be close to God. So the more we serve the more we come to understand Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  Everyone here wishes there was actually a giving vending machine in Rexburg. :)

Well, "T" seems to be doing ok, except he ignored us again. I don't know the reason this time, but I think he's going through a lot of stress right now. He wasn't home when we knocked on his door either, so we left a plate of cinnamon rolls at his doorstep. I'm a little worried that he might have been at his job in Pocatello, so hopefully he got those in good condition! We've gotten a lot of sweets from Christmas parties (we cover 16 wards and a branch), so we're going to try to pass them out to people we are trying to get in contact with. We have a new investigator since last night! Kind of! I taught him once with Sister Deuel. His aunt and uncle really liked the light the world message we shared. They are members, but their nephew isn't. I don't think he has permission to be baptized right now, but he can still learn more. His family back home are blended with LDS members and Baptist members. 

Well that's been my week! :) I hope your December won't be super crazy and I love you!!! It won't be long until we skype! :) Although when we do I'll just have three to two weeks left!! Crazy!!!!

~Sister Brinkerhoff 


December 11th:
Hi Mom! 
I have a lot of fun winter pictures this week! It wasn't snowing the day we took pictures, but everything including the snow was really frosted over!! It was so pretty and so cold ha ha! It was about 9 degrees that day.  Sister Lewis wasn't thrilled about it. She wants her 125 degrees back from Nevada. :) I asked her permission to add her photo ha ha!

My week has been interesting. So my companions are great, but it's been an adjustment again since we're once again in a trio. It's weird because we were only split apart for two weeks.  I've also been going through stress that's been hard to explain because I don't even completely understand it myself. Yesterday I received a priesthood blessing and I talked to President Nelson.  I just expressed to him that I'm worried about being judged or labeled. You're pretty familiar with what I'm talking about, like how most people will talk to me like I'm five years old and label me as shy when they meet me for the first time. I told President Nelson how there's sometimes a stigma with the missionaries where we're either training every transfer and an STL or we are forgotten and not as important. He's always telling me to be more confident, so I was worried that that's why I wasn't called to do anything like that. I don't really care about whether or not I would do those things, but I feel like the other missionaries I've been around know more than I do concerning missionary work because they've had those experiences.  I've tried not to let it bug me, but I think it just crashed this week on me. President let me know that I was a capable missionary and that I have been successful in my role as a missionary. He likes to mention the baptisms Sister Chandler and I had (probably because of that and we were together for so long). I told him I was also nervous for those people because most of them are inactive now. I didn't realize at the time that it can be really bad to have a child baptized in an inactive home.  He told me that we each have agency, which I know, but it's still really hard to watch.  I do feel a little better after talking to him. I just wanted to make sure I was doing my best and that I wasn't being disappointing. He encouraged me to pray for confidence each day (already doing that...), and we'll analyze at the end of the transfer (I mean I'll be analyzing if I did my best or not).

We almost had a new investigator, but we won't be able to meet with her again until January and they weren't sure about a specific return appointment.  She's really sweet though and I hope it works out. I don't know if she's actually interested in the church but she doesn't mind learning more about it. The ward doesn't know about her or her family at all, so we're trying to figure out what their address number is. We know her street number and such but that's about it. We had dinner with our new investigator, which was great! We taught about the Restoration and discussed ways that will help him read the Book of Mormon. He and his aunt made a goal to read five verses a day.  We're going to text reminders to our almost investigator to help remind her as well.

I love Nathan's letter! Tell him I sent him one today! :)  I'm working on Amy and Sarah's letters now, and the others are sent. :) Sorry about your crazy experience at the library! I understand how hard it is when random things like that happen, more so when I was at walmart than on my mission surprisingly.  Maybe it's just Flagstaff ha ha! It's ok though, I wasn't sure what to do for helping someone who was sick. The candles are fun! I took a picture of all of them lit up in case some of them die later on. I left the days that are past "burning" ha ha! It's ok, maybe Heavenly Father had that happen for a reason. At least you learned from it. :) If it was me I probably would have just stared blankly at her and been like wha?

Seeing wildlife out here is fun! There's a lot of deer in Burton, I've seen a couple of moose out, and Sister Guerra one night either saw a raccoon, porcupine or dog 😅. I think it was a porcupine because I've seen some in my last area before. :) Speaking of my last area, I've seen a lot of people from Henry's Fork this past transfer. I saw "A" and her family, one of the Bishop's sons at a Christmas party, and "C" (used to be my next door neighbor whose husband passed away from cancer a year ago. She recently had thyroid cancer and showed me the surgery scar.😶 Thankfully she's doing alright right now).  Sister Houston and Sister Robb have also had much success in Henry's Fork, which I'm very happy about. :) Things were pretty slow when Sister Houston and I were companions because everyone was gone for summer break. She's now second half training in Ammon and loving it. :) The funny thing is Sister Houston IF West and Sister Settle went up to Ammon. Then Sister Settle spent her last three weeks in IF West and went home, and now Sister Houston is in Ammon. They basically switched places. :)

Well I've already taken a long time to email you, so hear you go! :) Have fun with your digital recordings! I love you! BTW, I sent something fun in my letter! :) You may already have the pictures I put in it, but it's a fun little overview of the people I've been with since the beginning of my mission.

~Sister Brinkerhoff

December 18th:

Hi Mom! 
Sorry I think I sent that last email twice on accident. So I honestly don't know when they will want missionaries to get smartphones. If for some reason I have to buy one in the short time I have we can probably use the extra money on my account. Oy!

I was started to feel congested and Sister Smith already wasn't feeling good, but I'm like not today! I chewed and swallowed three on guard beadlets last night and feel better ha ha!

We had a fun week! Two inactive members dropped us, but another less active member in the YSA is doing awesome! We were actually afraid that we would have to drop him because he wasn't keeping commitments at first, but his heart is changing and he's working harder than he did before.  He also spoiled a little bit of Star Wars. Not upset at all ha ha!  I'll just be happy if Luke and that former clone soldier (Finn right?) is in it.  We also got to teach gospel principles yesterday. It was about the Final Judgement and Exaltation. YSA members are fun to teach because most of them are RMs :).

I can't believe I have a month left! And next week I'll be telling people I've been out 18 months! Crazy!!!! I'll have about three weeks left by the time we skype. BTW about skype, we're still working on all the details since there's three of us, but we're thinking maybe 10 AM or 11 AM. We texted one family about doing it at their house, but they haven't responded back yet. If I have to call that day and let you know more details I will. Your time zone is the same as ours right?

I love you mom! Have an awesome week!
~Sister Emily Brinkerhoff
Brought to you by Sister Smith (lol!!!):

December 25th:

Christmas Day Skype!

December 26:
Hi Mom! I don't know if you'll be on today or not, but I'll still send an email!

I had so much fun skyping with you and the family! It ended too soon! You know how I never really get teary eyed or cry while I'm bearing my testimony? I almost did yesterday when I bore my testimony to you all. 

We had an eventful week! I told you about how the Spirit helped us find two new investigators after zone conference. It was awesome! We also ate dinner this week at the fire department. That was cool!  😎 We committed them all to light the world and we also gave them pass along cards. :)

I'm sending a box of clothes home today. It's clothing that I still plan to use but I don't really use them in the summertime. I also put some stuff away in one of my trunks today so I won't have to worry about that later. I just have out everything that I'm using at the current moment. I'm sending my shoes home too, so I'll just have my tennis shoes and my boots. Have fun watching Star Wars! Let me know if it's good! I trust y'all ha ha!

Have a wonderful week! I love you!
~Sister Brinkerhoff

November 2017 Email Excerpts

November 6th:

Hi mom! 

Before I forget, do you remember Israel and Delight Palafox? I keep forgetting to ask you and we ate dinner with them a month ago now! oops! But they said that they remember you and Dad being the cutest couple. :) Brother Palafox is our ward mission leader. :) 

Thanks for the package and the candy!! 

The baptism went well!! Sister Guerra got to come up from Menan for it! :) This was the first baptism I really felt like I helped other than a talk or a musical number. It felt nice to finally feel like I know what I'm doing ha ha! And thankfully I had help from two companions. :) "T" was already so prepared for all of this! I'm so glad he made this decision! We set a temple date with him as well, which we're all looking forward to! :) I forgot my cord!! I'll send pictures when I can! :) The rest of our week involved a very thorough weekly planning. We're going to treat this transfer like a whitewash because there's been so many changes and lots of things that need to be organized. It'll be fun! :) There's also going to be a sister's meeting soon, and Sister Houston, Sister Brimhall and I are going to play an arrangement of All Creatures of Our God and King on violins! :) It's sounds great so far, and we're going to keep practicing it for the meeting. It came in handy for us to borrow violins because I ended up playing Baptism for Trevor's baptism. :)

That's still so cool that you have sister missionaries! There will probably be changes before I go home, but I look forward to meeting them anyway. :) Ha ha sometimes that happens when we're desperate, although I can usually just hold it until dinnertime or later when we're home. :)

I love you too!!
~Sister Brinkerhoff  

November 20th:

This week was crazy but fun! I'll send pictures this time ha ha! Last Friday we had an all sisters meeting. It was crazy because Sister Tapeseria, Sister Ganbold and I were at the top of the program amidst all the sisters present. Sister Tapeseria leaves in December and Sister Ganbold leaves in January with me.  Sister Tapeseria gave a heartfelt testimony. I'm going to miss her! I gave my testimony and told everyone the story of when I opened my call and said I was going to Kenya, Africa which everyone laughed about. :) But then I said how I wouldn't have wanted to go anywhere else but Idaho Falls (even though I've never actually served in IF ha ha).  All the sisters here have amazing gifts, and I've decided not to be jealous even if it's hard ha ha! Sister Ganbold also bore her testimony. She is an inspiration for sure. She was baptized in Mongolia, but her parents weren't. but she is now teaching them over Skype. Then all the sister missionaries introduced themselves, including the mls missionaries and those in the mission office. We then performed the musical number, Sister Houston and Sister Brimhall (from Snowflake!) and I. It was fun! Nobody realized how many violin players there were in this mission! :) Sister Houston's mom may have already told you all this though... she said you two are buddies now :).

 {Random comment, but I hope I can go to all the Arizona sister's homecomings!}   Sister Houston and her companion Sister Robb helped to conduct the meeting, along with Sister Nelson, President Nelson's wife. They invited a guest speaker to come in a talk about real beauty. She was talking about a lot of different things and it was kind of weird. Her main topic was how we didn't get to choose what we would look like, but we could choose what to do with what we have. 

After the sister's meeting we ate lunch at Cafe Rio with Sister Chandler, which was especially awesome because that was my year mark since I transferred to Henry's Fork and she became my companion. :) I haven't seen her in a couple of months, so it was a very happy occasion. 

Sorry if this email is shorter than usual. I'm not feeling super well either, but I'm getting better. I think there's just some drainage going on. In regards to a package, hand warmers would be good. :) I'm hoping I don't get sick like I did last year. I was on bed rest for about two to three days. 

I am wondering if I'm going to transfer since we are in a trio and trios don't tend to last very long. I feel like I might. I always get a feeling whenever I transfer, but then again I've only transferred twice. Everyone thinks I might transfer to IF. That would just be one transfer in IF out of my whole mission! Honestly, no matter what happens I will be just fine. If they didn't leave me here I would have never met "T" (sad thought!), our recent convert. :)

Ok, so this was longer than I thought ha ha! But I wanted to let you know that I love you tons! 

Have a wonderful week! I love you so much!
~Sister Brinkerhoff


My fun transfer so far:

November 27th:
Hi Mom and Dad!

Well, here's my week! It's been very eventful despite my sore throat and very annoying cough! We had dreams of finding new investigators this week that went down the drain, but we're hoping somebody will be ready soon.😺

Thanksgiving was great! I don't know if you were told or not, but sadly we're not in a trio, which is why Sister Smith isn't in the picture. A sister that's been in my zone for a while, Sister Barber, needed to go home for medical reasons. She's amazing and we miss her so much! She actually lives in Queencreek, Arizona so she's not too far away. :) Ha ha I love your pictures! I may print them and put 'em on my wall :) I'd love to see the tree! 

Eating with the Browns was fun! :) It's so cool to meet so many couples here that know you and Dad, including the Palafox family! 
There's a recent convert that lives with the Browns. We haven't been able to meet with him for almost two transfers, which has been hard but it sounds like he's had a lot on his mind from what the Browns told us. We're eating dinner with them again and we let them know that we wanted to teach a lesson. We might have to feel it out. Pray that it goes well and that he's actually there! :) We're still working on meeting with a convert from last year that Sister Chandler and Sister Settle both helped to teach when they were in that area. That's been a struggle. "T" has finally been meeting with us! I was so worried, but he told us he's been having a lot of grief with his roomate. We had him call his bishop at the end of our lesson so he could be ordained to the priesthood. Sister Lewis and I came to his sacrament meeting a little late after we helped teach primary in the Burton fourth ward, and it looked like the Bishop had him stand up and everyone raised their hands for something. I wasn't thinking about it at first, but Sister Lewis mentioned later that he may have been ordained now! YES!  We're hoping to help him prepare for the temple soon! :) He's such a great guy and I'm glad I got to stay in the area this transfer to help him learn more about faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. 

We also went to President Hammond's (YSA 4th Stake President) house on Thanksgiving and shared the light the world video with him and his family. They enjoyed it so much! They are a very cheerful family. We also got to know a family in Burton and have dinner with them. We shared a video from the Easter Initiative about gratitude with them. 

It's been weird to adjust to a duo again :).  President Nelson interviewed everybody a couple of days ago and told Sister Lewis and I to work hard because we're both reserved. I'll admit I was a little hurt by the comment because I've led out in two areas now. But so far we've been teaching well together and we enjoy each other's company. My guess is that we will stay companions, but she doesn't want to "kill" me. :) 

Oh!!  I keep forgetting to tell you this!! Guess who I keep seeing at walmart? Nicole Beverlin!! She was my friend in high school when we were in Nampa. The only sad thing is that I don't think she remembers me. We made eye contact one day and I I got excited, but she looked confused. This was before I cut my hair. I want to say hi to her so bad but I'm nervous that she might not remember me and I don't want it to be awkward. ugh I don't know how I get myself in these situations! :)

Thank you for the box! We haven't seen it yet, but maybe it will come later today.

I hope you both had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I love you!😘
~Sister Brinkerhoff

Thanksgiving at the Brown's!

October 2017 Email Excerpts

October 2nd:
Hi Mom! I think I have everything I need. Nothing else I can think of to put in the box.

This weekend was crazy. I don't know where to begin. starts with me. I misplaced our phone after we went to visit people with a member, so my companion and one of our sister training leaders were without a phone while we were on exchanges. I tried not to worry about it too much, but I felt bad. Luckily there was a neighbor who let them borrow their phone to make a few calls and try to find the phone. The member we got a ride from left for general conference basically the entire weekend, so if it's in her car... I don't know! Missionaries have been trying to get a hold of us for different things and we couldn't get a hold of them. Luckily the STLs knew it was missing because we told them. During exchanges with Sister Allen we went jogging in the morning. It felt great, but my stomach felt tight and hurt a little after. I didn't pay attention to it because that's normal. But then we were planning out our day and I suddenly was having a lot of pain, so I went to the bathroom thinking that was the problem and I almost threw up. ugh I don't even know what the heck happened but I got woozy and very pale. It was so strange, but I rested for 15 minutes and felt a LOT better (I PROMISE!). I got some food in my system and nothing else happened that was bad. I had fun helping the BYU-I sisters at their booth on campus and was able to make my goal of ten people written down who wanted help with missionary opportunities or participate in skype lessons. To make the weekend crazier, there was a rumor that e-coli was found in one of the pipes that someone was analyzing. So on the safe side we've been drinking boiled or bottled water. It's been turning into survival of the fittest in Rexburg!!😲 Just kidding, it hasn't been that bad, but definitely NOT what I was expecting at all!! Ha ha! Thankfully we have a phone now too. It's like the one I was using at home. We've had fun this weekend with general conference and continuing to love and have fun with the other missionaries here. I'll send you pictures!!!!
I was able to watch all the sessions of General Conference! :)  We were asked to watch it as a zone at a church building.  I was so shocked when President Eyring gave the news that Robert D. Hales had passed away. It was pretty sad, but I'm so glad that Neil L. Anderson reminded us of his inspired words. I was also really impressed at the inspiration I found that helped me with some of my concerns. I always love what Quentin L. Cook has to say. He made a point in our service to God and His fellowman that it is not where we serve but HOW we serve that matters.  I really want to figure out which British cartoon character he was talking about! :) I also really liked Dieter F. Uctdorf's talk about Bobby the Wonder Dog :). That was a really cool story, and his talk made me think of an inactive member whose struggling with wanting to be home with God and her family. Throughout the entire talk I was thinking about her. W. Craig Zwick's talk also helped us last night. We've been struggling with meeting with one of our investigators, and I had almost given up. But my companion didn't thankfully. We actually got to the root of what the problem was and why he wasn't able to meet with us. He also has questions about the plan of salvation. His daughter passed away recently, and a friend who is a member tried to explain the plan of salvation to him in a little too much detail. He set things up so that his mother in law can come on Saturday to the lesson and we will teach him the basics so he understands. He's a really sweet guy and was eager to grab his scriptures and find the chapter my companion asked him to read after our visit. 

I love you!
~Sister Brinkerhoff

October 9th:

What I did this morning for P-day (the lady cut it in the back shorter than I was expecting, but I'm ok with it):

Hi Mom!!! 

Now that those pictures are taken care of... :)

Here's what I've been up to other than my hair... "C's" baptismal date is on November 4th, but he was out of town for his parent's anniversary so didn't make it to sacrament meeting yet. They don't seem to make church a priority anyway, but I guess it doesn't help that his mom has to work on Sundays. We're working with the YM and the bishop on rides and support. There's also "B" and "S", but "B's" been out of town for a while now. I found out "S's" mom is sisters with "T", a sister from Hibbard. They're both working hard to be active again and are even looking for time off on Sundays to be able to do so! :) Their kids on the other hand aren't super interested in our visits. :( A sister from the assisted living house named "L" went to the temple and bore her testimony in sacrament meeting about it. She so sweet! We still visit her as she progresses. We even had dinner with her and her nurse (a student on campus). Her nurse's roommates are hilarious!

Hopefully I'll run into Oscar and Emily soon and pass on your message. :) Other people we're teaching are "T", the "H's" and "J". "T" was being taught by the APs but then moved here. He's golden! He came to church yesterday and the 86th ward reached out to him. The bishop let people be aware of him coming and they immediately befriended him. It was perfect!! He's really excited for his baptism on the 28th! We haven't been able to have a solid lesson with the "H's". The lessons always fall through. They moved here from Rigby after their oldest daughter passed away. The wife is inactive but won't say why. Just has some problems with people at church. They almost came to church but didn't feel well. "J" is "T's" nephew, and I'm not sure how long we'll teach him because he doesn't have permission to be baptized by his mom. "T" really wanted him to learn more about the gospel. We originally started going to help her husband, so we're trying to teach the whole family. We've only gone as far as the Restoration lesson, and they've been pretty busy ever since. Aside from all that, we've been working with less active members as well (no surprise in Rexburg).  "M. R." is softening!!! At first she was pretty set in her ideas about the church and about any churches in general. She loved general conference because they talked about Jesus Christ so much, and last time we met with her we helped her find connections with the Book of Mormon to the Bible. She was hesitant about praying out loud with us at first, but after the 5th or 6th time I've met with her she finally said a very lovely prayer! :) I was so happy that night!! We've had a lot of cool experiences with people here like that! I think they're still trying to get used to all the changes in missionaries in this area still. :)  

Well, I already sent the photos, but yes, I got my hair cut really short. I've never had it this short in my life!!! :P But it's great and I love it!  

I'm still figuring out what to do about school or life in general, but next week we're going to the temple so I'll keep it in mind as I'm there. BTW, we're doing that on Thursday, so I'll be emailing on Thursday (just a heads up!)

Thank you for the package! and tell Dean I said thank too! I ran out of time to finish my emails (I'm the worst!!). I'm responding back little by little to everyone. I started talking to all my Nampa friends who are serving missions, and ever since then I started getting more than I could handle-- ha ha! Not to mention I've kept in touch with former companions.
Have an awesome week!
~Sister Brinkerhoff

October 19th:

Sorry, I completely forgot to answer your question!!! I know for sure that I'm leaving for home in January. So as for what I want for Christmas...yes, maybe send little things. I was also wondering if it was ok for us to just save the money for something fun or big, because I'm honestly not sure what I want. 

Ha ha so far I love having short hair, but I'll probably grow it out again. Not sure yet. :P 

As for investigators, they're doing ok. Things are stressful sometimes. Our golden investigator might be moving away, our second "on date" investigator's parents want him to wait until February, and we're struggling to even meet with any of our other investigators. It's been a little crazy but good! We're working on meeting with more presidencies which should hopefully help. Transfer calls will be this Saturday, and I know I'm not training because the calls have already been made. I'm kind of bummed that I won't get that opportunity, but I think it's mostly my fault because I mentioned that I was too nervous to do something like that the beginning of my mission. The sisters that get called to train here usually train the rest of their mission, but it's still under the direction of the Spirit. I know that.

I hope Dad had a great Birthday!! I sent him an email!

The temple was great today (and I'm excited to finally have a preparation day!!) :). I'm still not completely sure about school. I just asked that I would find direction to what would help me learn so I could serve him in the best way I can.  The only places that came to mind were either community college, byui or both. I still don't know if I want to do pathways or not.

I love you!
~Sister Brinkerhoff

October 23rd:

Get this! I'm staying in the Rexburg YSA area (I've been in the same exact zone for almost a year now!!) and I'm going to be in a trio with Sister Smith and Sister Lewis! Totally not what I was expecting except I guessed that I was going to stay here. :) Sister Chandler and I think I'm staying in Rexburg the rest of my mission, but who knows? I've been up north of the mission this entire time, I've never been down south in IF. There's a reason to everything though. I do get to witness my zone completely change each transfer though ha ha! I don't know them well. I've met Sister Lewis but I haven't talked to her much. We're both pretty quiet I hear. She was half trained by a sister that was in my zone the beginning of the year, so we've been in touch about transfers. :) Unless someone tells us differently we will most likely stay in the same apartment, although I'm not sure how we are all three going to fit our stuff here.  We'll make it work. I should have let you send more scarves. It's getting a little cold, but I have two scarves that have worked well.

Oh I didn't tell you what I did this week! :) Our investigators are doing great, but one of them wants to push his baptism date until next year...ah! But he's still a great guy and we'll do our best to help him feel prepared. Trevor is our golden investigator. He has a friend (girlfriend or no? not sure) that includes him in her circle of friends and helps him find answers to his questions. She has been to almost every lesson, and she's very helpful! Two evenings ago Sister Houston and Sister Robb had a service project so I got to visit my old area! :) We got to help out at Brother Clements' fall festival. I forgot my camera, but I'll have to show you his pumpkin cannon. :) He used to be one of the ward mission leaders.

I should be going now, but I was happy to talk to you. I just found out from our housing coordinators that I'll be in the same place. They're going to add a bunk bed! I also wanted to add a couple of things, first that picture of me and sister Guerra with those two boys was a miracle story. They have an exchange student, and since we aren't allowed to teach her formal lessons we weren't sure how the dinner message was going to be received. We taught about prophets and the student Ola asked us questions about why God lets bad things happen. We were able to have a good conversation with her and help her find references in her Polish Book of Mormon. Later that evening we got a text from the mother of the family thanking us for that. Ola was impressed that we didn't ignore her questions like the priests and nuns she talked to in Poland. We were so happy! The boy sitting next to me also drew a cute picture of me. :) 

October 30th:

Hi Mom! I hope you are having a wonderful week! Trio life has been fun so far! Grandma sent us halloween decorations which we put up this morning after we cleaned. We have a baptism going on on Saturday!!! His name is "T" from the YSA stake, and he's very excited for his baptism. We're trying to get everything set up, and his interview is on Tuesday.  Sister Lewis is done with the training stage in her mission. She's really sweet and loves books. Sister Smith is also sweet and fun loving. She came from the visitor's center.

Doing anything fun for Halloween? I hope you have a wonderful week!  I hope this week goes a lot better for you! There are these sisters in my zone that mentioned a boy in one of their lessons that prayed to have the best day ever. They thought it was adorable, so they started praying for it every day and seem to have the best day ever. :)

Happy Halloween!👻
I love you! ❤
Sister Brinkerhoff

September 2017 Email Excerpts

September 4th:

Hi Mom! 

Wow, I didn't even know about the earthquakes in Idaho until now. Grandma's asking me the same thing. You know, I'm happy to not have to worry about the news, but I'm always glad to be kept in the loop. The hurricane in Texas sounds catastrophic right now!! Are there other states affected by it right now?

I don't think I'm going to have a normal week ever this transfer.  We just did three exchanges back to back. I was with Sister Hastings (former companions with Sister Chandler) for two days and one with Sister Houghton in Sugar City. It was pretty fun! 

I love the nursery kids! We taught that same lesson to a girl in Henry's Fork! She has sensory disabilities and needed to take lessons really slow. The missionaries there said she is getting baptized this month, which is exciting!!

We have a new investigator, "C"! She is so sweet! Sister Deuel bore a powerful testimony about the Restoration, and "C" started to cry. She started reading the Book of Mormon before we even met her and her friend said she felt the Spirit so strongly. She doesn't want to be pushed about anything, but she's so willing to try things out and keep her commitments! I love her!

That house was fun to help out with! We've had so many service projects lately that we've actually had to start making a zone rule for them! ha ha! Our weekends have turned into service weekends.

There's nothing I need at the moment. I won't take money out of my savings since I don't know how much is on it. I don't need to get much from the store today. I'll let you know if there's anything I need.

Have a great week! Good luck with Grandma's house! I'm sad that I don't get to help with it right now. Y'all will probably be done by the time I get home, but I can't wait to see how everything looks! :)
I love you!
~Sister Brinkerhoff

September 11th:

Hi Mom!!!!!!

We haven't felt any earthquakes in Rexburg, but there's been wildfires that interrupted my sleep like last year. Last year we woke up and there was haze in the room. I had a sore throat the whole rest of the day, but luckily that didn't happen this time and the fires are going out. 

So the craziest thing happened, and they didn't even take pictures!! AUGH!!! :) But ok, we got to hear from three general authorities Saturday!!! One of them being the Apostle Elder Ballard!!!!!! They wanted us to study chapter 4, Recognizing the Spirit, and he talked about ways to adjust teaching to meet people's needs. He was so funny! We all got to shake his hand at the beginning of the meeting, and when he left he said "adios amigos"!!!

This was quite the eventful transfer, but sadly it's coming to an end. Sister Deuel is leaving for home this week. I'll be with Sister Houghton for a couple of nights in Sugar City before transfers on Thursday. Her companion Sister Hastings is going home too, which is sad because Sister Hastings was in my very first zone in Idaho (now everyone in my first area is "dead" 😖). The Assistants called and said I will be with Sister Guerra, one of the Billingual sisters. I'm nervous because I don't know her very well, but I'm hoping it all goes well. 

We lost both of our investigators in the same week, but not in a bad way. They just moved. I'm hoping we are able to find more people to teach. It's hard to work with the YSA wards sometimes because people move around frequently. We did find someone that Sister Chandler started teaching, and he was baptized when Sister Settle and Sister Eas were in the area. He's having a rough time with things that are going on in his life, and we hope to help him out a little with some spiritual uplifting. Since Sister Chandler is here for school now we are going to try to get her involved as well. They're still friends. :) Oh, and Sister Settle has already started school at BYU Provo. I was sad that she couldn't stay long enough to be around for Elder Ballard because we would have been able to see each other again before her last transfer, but it sounds like she's doing well.  The sister in her last area said that she was going to come to Ammon for a baptism, and she was going to tell her I said hi ha ha! :) 

Are you feeling alright? I'm so sorry your health has been out of whack. Nothing huge has happened to my health, knock on wood, but November and December were hard. I'm hoping the same thing doesn't happen this year, but I'm going to try to not eat as much sugar. Also I'm sorry if I haven't mentioned anything I need. I either forget while I'm at the computer, or I'm doing good and don't need anything.   

Don't worry, I feel love and support from home. :) I sent Amy a letter because she mentioned that she doesn't know much of what's been going on since I've been gone, so I tried to let her know what I could. I also sent a letter to Megan. I'm hoping to send one or two letters home each week as a goal so I don't stress not getting letters sent anymore. :) I am a little worried about going home soon because I don't want to disappoint anyone. I've had so many life-changing experiences, but I don't feel different and I don't feel like I've made a huge impact. I'm still going to be that same quiet person, and I'm worried that everybody's expecting me to be a completely different person. I'm also worried that nobody (other than family) is going to care that much that I'm home. I've had a really hard time connecting with people in Flagstaff or extended family. Just know that I have felt a ton of support from you! :) 

I love you!
~Sister Brinkerhoff
P.S. I've been using flonase and it works wonders!!! 😊 Thanks for your advice!! 

September 18th:

Good morning! I'm feeling good, and things have been going very well with Sister Guerra. :) I had sinus trouble the day of transfers because we are suddenly having a cold front. 🤔Not sure why. :) It started raining like normal summer rain and all of a sudden we needed our jackets. The weather's been in the 40's all weekend and today. I don't remember it getting cold like this so fast last year. Maybe it's because October is coming up.  Sorry to hear about your migraine! No fun! I hope it goes away soon.

It's exciting to hear about Dad and Dean's adventures this week! :) How does pathways work? Is he taking a particular class? I keep telling Grandma that I'm probably going to go home and see a different Grandma's house. :)

We have met and are starting to teach "C" and the "F's"! Sister Guerra asked "C" if he would still like to be baptized and he said yeah. :) The "F's" are interesting. We tried knocking on their front door and no one answered. Their garage looked like it was open, so we walked over to the back and saw Sister F sitting very quietly in her car. Pretty sure she was hiding from us ha ha! But we talked to her and came back the next day. We met her husband and their adopted daughter "E" whose biological mother passed away two years ago. Brother and Sister F had a little bit of a cold shoulder while we taught their daughter the Restoration. "E" was baptized when she was eight and had gone to primary that same day, which we were happy about. Sister F was more warm towards us rather than the first time we met her, and she teared up when "E's" mother was mentioned. I think she was a family friend. We're hoping to meet with them again soon. We've also been meeting with "T", her husband "E" and her nephew "J". "J" isn't a member, and he doesn't have permission to be baptized. We're hoping to at least help the family as best we can. I was really excited to see all of them at sacrament meeting yesterday!!!

I got an email from Sister Deuel, and she seems to be doing well. She told me how she wanted to hug guys when she got home and got to do just that. :) I might have already mentioned this, but Sister Chandler and Sister Settle ( I still feel weird calling them just Alexandria and Miriam 😐) started school. Well, Sister Settle might have started a long time ago, and Sister Chandler started this week. I'm surprised I haven't run into her lately in town. A bunch of other former missionaries arrived for school this week too. Sister Houston got to go on splits with her trainer Sister McIntosh which sounded awesome! :)

Well that's been my adventures this week. Oh!! We also saw moose and a lot of deer in Burton!!! ha ha I must sound so immature in this email. :) But it was really cool! It was a mama moose with her baby, and they were eating apples off a tree in someone's front yard. I'm hoping those people didn't have to go outside for anything... but the moose sighting helped us find one of the houses we were looking for so that's a plus! :)

I hope you have a wonderful week! 
~Sister Brinkerhoff 

September 25th:
Hi Mom!!!! Thanks for the email, and thank you for sharing your testimony! It was beautiful!❤ 
It's still been chilly this past week, and I think I caught a cold. I took some cold medicine yesterday and it helped a ton! Helped me sleep too. Now I just have a small cough. It's amazing how much my sicknesses have calmed down! Usually my colds are the worst thing ever :P, but I can still function pretty well! Sister Guerra also had some OnGuard that helped clear my sinuses for a time. :)
Those might have been the only sweaters because I have two with me right now plus another one in a pile of clothes some sisters were passing around. I've got one pair or gloves, but it might be good to have an extra. I'm not sure what condition my boots are in, but I'll check them. Do you know if Walmart carries shoe polish? I don't have much experience with polishing shoes ha ha!
This week has definitely been a tester of faith. We had a goal to find 2 new investigators, and the people we thought were going to be the new ones didn't end up working out. Luckily we were determined ha ha! We talked to the people that I wasn't expecting to be the new investigators, and it was awesome! We tried really hard to help someone be on date for baptism, but it didn't happen this week. We're again determined for this week! :) I was a little discouraged one night because I felt like everyone was rejecting our invitations one after another, but I feel we as a companionship are more motivated in helping others come closer to Christ at their pace rather than getting perfect baptismal statistics. Sister Guerra is awesome! She is from Alberta, Canada and is serving as a Billingual or Spanish speaking missionary. Right now there are 11 Spanish speaking sisters, so she's with me in an English area for the time being. It's been great getting to know her better and we work really well together. She's very in tune with the Spirit. :)
Sorry it took so long to respond back! I love you and I hope you don't get sick this holiday season!!!
~Sister Brinkerhoff