I hope you all are doing fantastic out in the world! Here in Mexico time is starting to FLYYYY. This week I hit one month on the mission. How the heck did that happen? I love it here in Mexico, even when there are sirens every five seconds.
I want to wish a happy birthday to Brad and Lucas! 1 & 29, but who's counting?
Last week when I got done emailing I walked out of the computer lab and guess who I saw? Elder Oaks & Clayton getting a tour of the beautiful CCM. They yelled "Hola hermanas!" at Hna. Grover and I. It was so neat and put us in the craziest mood.
I did in fact sing in choir. Here at the CCM if you have a talent and you don't share it people flip. My district makes me sing for them every night because they miss music. A group of us also sing Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing and it is marvelous! I may send a voice recording. I'm learning not to hide my talents.
The devotional was amazing. Here are some key parts:
Sister Clayton: "This mission is a season of service unlike anything else."
Elder Clayton: "Come home half Chilean (or whatever place you go to), and evaluate what you need to work on or put some shine on yourself. Wherever you are, find joy." [I have to say Elder Clayton was my favorite part and helped me the most. I feel like I can relate to that guy so much.]
Sister Oaks: Her talk was so good! She loves the Sister missionaries of the church so much! She told us that "Sister missionaries have angels with them at all times." She also told us about her mission to Japan and the the lives that are impacted 40 years later by her service. So neat. "Joseph Smith locked in this message with his life; now you go share it with everyone."
Elder Oaks: "Be a full-time missionary. Take care of you body. His time, His way. Who am I? I am a follower of Chris and I strive to keep His commandments."
I hope some of that made sense, I just stole from my notes.
After the devo he asked to shake all of our hands. It was amazing. His eyebrows are a lot bushier in person, but that's also besides the point. His sweet wife asked where I was going and told me good luck. Elder Clayton asked me if I knew the Brinkerhoffs in Idaho. Good try, but no.
So neat. I will never forget all of that. After I shook his hand some hermanas and I commented on what Elder Oaks was saying to everyone. It was hilarious the reactions people had.
Overall this week was great. I have finally understood this big bad CCM. Also, Hermana Hopkin came! I will send a picture next week. I've enjoyed stalking her at dinner and talking about inside jokes and life back in Wyoming. A boy in her district is also from Rock Springs and played tennis. Today at lunch we had a tennis chat about when we played each other. It was so fun.
Two of my other favorite parts of the week were:
1. The new CCM director came into our class to see what was going on. He just sat and listened. His name is Elder Casteñeda of the 70. All of the sudden he takes over our lesson and starts talking about how we learned Spanish in the pre-mortal life and that with work it will come. He also just started crying. He repeated a bunch of times "It's there elders, it's there. You can do it!" I started crying too of course. It was exactly what I needed to hear, and although it was random, I know he was inspired.
2. The old CCM director spoke to us. He's the funniest guy! He served in Chile and hated the MTC the first few weeks. He's like my twin. He told us to stay on target and look forward. None of the past mattered and that is so true. He then told us to write down an attachment we have and then forget about it this week. I had many to let go of. Amazing. I love the energy at the CCM.
Well folks that's about all I've got. If you got this far I love you and your dedication. I will be out to Chile in two weeks and I am pumped and scared out of my mind. But we've been promised that our Spanish will be enough. Next week we start packing our things to leave. Time flies. Life is good in the walls.
Hermana Josie Brinkerhoff
P.S. It was an emotional week saying good bye to the friends I made this past month.
I lost at "What are the odds?" and had to run through the sprinklers while my whole district watched. It's okay because Hermana Grover ate a lady bug.
Semi-care package from home: best day ever. I've worn the shoes everyday. Cutest ones I have. The cookies and pineapple are long gone.
These sweeties left for Chile yesterday. I will miss them dearly. Best examples ever.
Hermana Neslen left for Denver South. I cried. We have plans to meet up in 17 months.
Someone show these pictures to AJ's mom. I am going to miss seeing this 9er everyday. He's a great kid! Big Horn Basin is the best. (Above and below)
I am halfway done with the training center in Mexico! Crazy!
This week was a roller coaster! It definitely got a lot harder, but I've come to realize that I have to rely on the Lord ALL. THE. TIME. I'm not lying when I say I pray 20 times a day. I need His help more than ever. My independent personality has taken some reshaping the last few weeks to say the least...
Hermana Grover and I have had some serious heart-to-hearts, and I am so grateful that she is my companion during this time. I admire her so much! I learn something new from her every day.
On Friday I had a breakthrough and finally admitted that I liked this place. And I meant it this time. I really do like this place, even if it's hard to handle and stretches your limits. And demands your entire soul.
Our mother district left on Monday. It was so SAD. Much more work will get done now...but I'll miss the jokes of district 7B.
Last week Elder Mendoza came and spoke to us as well. He told us that with faith anything is possible, on or off the mission.
In one of our lessons I had the idea to sing I am a Child of God in Spanish. It was amazing how fast the Spirit entered that lesson and changed the feeling of it. The hymns are true in every language. I also had a gift of tongues moment and answered a question in Spanish like a champ. No clue where that came fro. It was not me talking.
I LOVE Sundays here. In Relief Society we talked about humility. A comment made was, "Remember, Jesus gave THANKS, and then a miracle followed."
Also Hermana Bailey and I snuck into the choir after a mix-up of hand raises. So guess who is sitting front row (so glad I can sing soprano) at the devo. with Elders Oaks and Clayton? This girl!!!! We are singing the EFY medley in Spanish!
Today we went to the Mexico City temple. It was unreal. The art work in that place is unlike anything I've ever seen. I was at least a foot taller than the workers so that was interesting also. The drive to get there is about an hour and I got to see a lot of Mexico City. My mind was blown. There are so many people in this world! The houses here are stacked on each other, house after house. I really enjoyed it and it also scared me too. I was not leaving that bus in some parts of the city...no way ever.
Also I couldn't help but think how grateful I was to have grown up in America. I'm sure the people love it here, but I will take my sweet Wyoming any day. At the temple a lady was playing on the organ the Army of Helaman song and I was overcome with gratitude because of the goodly parents and life I was born into. Now it's my turn to give back. I am so grateful for the sweet life I have back in the states!
I love you, I love this gospel and I know it's true. This is the Lord's work, and if you don't believe me come see how well set up the CCM is. I'm still baffled how many mormons live outside America. It is so far from an American religion. We watched The Restoration for our Sunday movie as well. Imagine watching that with 100 other missionaries. Beyond powerful. I know Joseph Smith as imperfect as he was, really is a prophet. How do I know? I have studied and read for myself. This is Christ's restored church. I wear JesuCristo on my name tag every day and I love it.
I love this work!
Hermana "B....rinkkkk...errr...hufff?" (how my name is said everyday by the teachers)
Great timing from the camera man (I swear I change my shirt, guys. I just happen to wear it in every picture sent home.)
Love that Hermana Grover!
Introducing Santiago West, breaking free from the CCM on March 8th. I love these people!
Here is my gang in Casa 14! (Above, and the two pics below)
...and you thought the district was just on BYUtv....these people are great!
Bright sun, full hearts.
The district that left: "Como se dice," translates from "adopted siblings" en español? (Above and below)
Hello people outside the walls of the CCM! [If anyone else is wondering what exactly CCM stands for, it's Centro de Capacitacion Misional. Basically the Spanish translation of Missionary Training Center. I had to look it up.]
How the heck have I been on a mission for 2 weeks? Actually, it feels like longer than that. It's true what they say "the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days."
This week we started to get into the swing of things. My days consist of nearly eight or so hours of language study. Sometimes it's a challenge to stay focused. Things get crazy in 7C at about 8:00 each night. I love my district and this pass week we've bonded quite a bit. The other sisters we live with are fantastic and it's like a 6-week sleepover in our casa.
Anyways, everyone and their dog was sick this week...Except Hermana Brinkerhoff because I covered myself in Doterra "On Guard!" I'm a believer. I've never felt so healthy in my life because of that stuff.
There are tennis courts here at the CCM. I've used them to my advantage. Ever played tennis in Mexico? Didn't think so. The other day we played the other girls in our casa and upon finding out I played tennis for a number of years she said, "Are you good then?" I immediately showed her the Brinkerhoff Backhand (tennis not punches), and she hasn't questioned me since. All of my tennis friends will understand the reference.
On that note, can I just say how much I miss Laramie? (shoutout to my girls on north 11th) But also I love being here and I know this is the right thing.
Elder Dallin H Oaks & Elder Clayton are coming next Tuesday to speak to us. I AM PUMPED. I may get chosen to sing in the choir (fingers crossed).
Spanish is coming slowly but surely. Everyday I understand a bit more. I am excited to be more fluent and the language barrier to not be an issue. We taught our district in English yesterday and I hated it. I didn't even know what I was saying and wanted to speak in Spanish. It is super awesome how learning a new language makes you see the world differently. I feel like a ton of new options will open up to me as I learn this new language, as hard and annoying as it may be. In a lesson yesterday she asked us a question and I was very frustrated because I knew exactly what to say in English. I think that happens to everyone though. So in Spanish I said something like "it's complementary to the bible." Real deep let me tell ya.
Another thing: Every time someone bears their testimony in Spanish they say my name! "I know" is "Yo sé" (the "y" sounds like a "j"). It gets me every time.
The most embarrassing thing that happened this week was when I met a girl who teaches here that had uncle Arley as her mission president. The second I met her I started crying, and was like "that's my uncle" wah wah wah. (This was in the middle of dinner mind you.) The teacher next to me was like "Breathe, Hermana." Haha!
I will try and send some pictures, but currently there are some technology issues.
I love you!
Oh and just a subtle reminder that it's awesome to get letters. So if you feel the need to tell me anything I am here. News from the outside is treasured and it makes Tuesday emailing easier. It's also faster and just fantastic. So you know just a LITTLE reminder.
Send the letter to: email@example.com
Subject line: Hermana Brinkerhoff District 7C
Then type the desires of your heart.
Hermana Bowling from Star Valley! She's a Wyoming girl headed to Chile!
Hermana Neslen selfie! She's headed to south Denver!
Not my district (thank goodness) this is our mother district, 7B they take good care of us and we eat together everyday. The boys force me to sing because they like my voice. I have no words for this district.
The B is for Brinkerhoff according to my district.
The ladies of casa 14. Much love.
We love the B.
My name is so long they used a different font I think.
I love those little houses. So many people live in Mexico I can't believe it.
My four corners of the earth.
Best thing to wake up to.
Currently I feel super overwhelmed by this whole email business. Thank you so much for the emails you sent me! It made me cry to know that some of you were thinking about me. I appreciate your love more than I can say. Tuesday will be my p-day for the next 5 weeks and Hermana Grover and I will probably do it after lunch. Oh yes, that brings me to another topic, Hermana Grover.
Let`s start at the beginning of this crazy journey...AKA last week.
First of all leaving Cody, Wyoming was so hard but there was this beautiful sunrise that made me feel a lot better. Tender mercy. Anyways....I flew to Houston with some members of the school board so that was kinda funny. It made me feel a lot better! In Houston I was freaking out because I had literally (that one is for you, Kierstyn and Lu) ten minutes to get to my next flight AKA the most important flight to Mexico. Well by some miracle my plane landed a few gates away from it. I got on the plane and spotted a white girl, so I knew she was headed to the CCM. Once off the plane I followed some random guy to my bags and this sweet lady helped me through customs in broken Spanish. Bless her. I eventually found the girl again and upon asking her in the CCM van where she was from she said,
"Newcastle, Wyoming....Ever heard of it?" Oh my have I ever.
The ride to the CCM was a thrill. We almost t-boned someone at least five times.
The second I unpacked my bags two things happened: #1 Someone asked me if I was related to so-and-so Brinkerhoff (I get that at least once a day) and #2 They stabbed me with a freaking needle because I was missing a shot. What a greeting. Then we sprinted off to dinner and I found Elder Rasmussen-Dickson from Lovell. It was so nice to see him!
After that I met Hermana Grover! She is from Gilbert, Arizona. ;) We are both headed to Santiago on the same day, same mission. I find it funny how everyone says they did not like their MTC companion. They didn't have Hermana Grover. She's a sweetheart! We get along like we've known each other forever. Hermana Grover is on to me. The other night she said "Hermana Brinkerhoff, I get this feeling you're a lot more sassy than you let on..." Hahahahahahhahahahaha! No way sister. Just wait.
The first few days were full of meetings and orientation and holy cow it was rough. People say the MTC is hard, but really it's just a huge transition. Everyone here is so kind though. I love it! I've met so many people from around the world and let me tell you something.The church is strong, the church is organized, and the church is true! This campus is beautiful too. The past few days were freezing, but now its sunny and 75.
Also just to clear up a rumor, the walls aren't that tall and the gun shots are canons with a few gun shots mixed in. The latinos just like to celebrate the saints with canons.
The teachers talk only Spanish to us. Sometimes they find it enjoyable to torture us I think, but then they give really spiritual lessons in English too. My first teacher likes to pet my hair and say "muy muy bonita Hermana B" (she literally can't say my last name, that makes me feel better about my Spanish) I asked another blonde girl if anyone has done it to her and she said no. I think it's the curl the latinos like. Another teacher was drawing a sister missionary on the board and drew her with crazy curly hair. They love me, and I really love them. We laugh all the time, even though half the time I have no clue what they say.
Everything is Spanish and it's been amazing to me to see that the gospel has no language. You still feel the Spirit regardless. So far we've taught three lessons...in Spanish and it went...haha.
Everyday someone says something to make me feel better. They try to keep us happy and busy. One of my favorites was from our branch president. He said "if you are going to Santiago, you are lucky. It is one of the most beautiful cities on Earth!"
I apologize for the typos and bad spelling. My life is all Spanish now..including the keyboard.
I am well here in Mexico City and will enjoy the next few weeks of training. I love. love. love. you all. Thank you for your prayers, I'm not kidding when I say I need them. The other night I thought about the people that were praying for me and I could almost feel the power behind those prayers. Thank you. I LOVE YOU!
Even after a week I know this is where I am supposed to be, so don't worry about me I am great! This mission is going to help me so much and I already love it. (No you RMs out there I am not lying!) I am in good hands with the leaders here and it's very safe. Also Hermana Grover takes good care of me. (I'll send a picture next week).
If you want to send me a letter that will get to me that day, you can. And I would love it!
To do that email:
In the subject line put: Josie Brinkerhoff District 7C
Someone try it and see if it works! It's free also and not a care package, just an email they print and give to you.
Anyways, once again I LOVE YOU!
Have a great week,
Hi! This is Shayla, Josie's sister-in-law. Josie won't have much Internet access while on her mission--aside from email--but she wants to keep all of her friends and family updated. Accordingly, she has asked that I share her email updates here on the blog. I won't have much of a presence here; I'll mainly be copying and pasting what she shares. I know she would love to hear from any of you directly, perhaps especially in these first few weeks while she is adjusting and missing home. We got a very brief email the night that she arrived in the Mexico City Missionary Training Center (MTC) assuring us that the flight went well and including an address to which we can send letters. They ask that we do not send any packages. The address is:
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal
Josie will leave the MTC for Santiago on March 8th, so this address should be good until then. Of course, you can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.