Once again it's Sister Brinkerhoff!
What a week. Holy cow! A good one. One of much learning. Everyday Chile gives me a new challenge.
This week I really missed my family, even when they don't write me. This week I really missed my mama, but when I told someone about missing my mom, I later learned that person's mom died a few years ago. I'm done complaining, haha. The family is forever!
One of our recent converts is named Irma. She is Grandma Brinkerhoff, Chilean. No joke. She saw that my shoes need some shining and literally ripped them off my feet and shined them up for me. Everyday I experience a tender mercy like that. The people are so kind. It's nice to know that someone still cared about me. Also our investigator gave us candy out of the blue. So, so kind I tell ya!
Things got a lot better in my world when Hermana McNevin came to do divisions. She is my sister training leader, and possibly my twin also. We are the same person—it is freaky. She lives in Denver, so if you miss me...hit up Sister M in June when she gets home. You won't be able to tell the difference. She helped me out a lot and explained some things about the mission I needed to understand. We talked about the special authority a missionary has to invite some to baptism and many other things that are a bit to sacred to write! I am grateful that I was sent a literal angel to help me out. Now I am doing so good! Don't even worry!
Spanish es mi mejor amiga and me amo espagnol mucha mucha. Haha mas o menos.
ALSO.....yesterday was my first baptism!!!!!! So awesome. Her name is Jaunita and I've been here for about half of her lessons. She is basically my mother. Such a special woman! She's always feeding us and giving me hugs, haha. I sang a solo for the baptism and that was mighty interesting, but it was worth it for Jaunita!
So much happened this week, but my mind is literally blank!
Today we went to Santa Lucia. Not sure of the history, but it's super pretty and I recommend googling it!
Sorry for my spelling. There really is no time to email! I read all of your emails, but I don't have time to reply. I am very sorry!
I sure love you all!
I really don't know what to say in this letter, haha. My life is insane!
It was a good week overall, but there were moments let me tell you. It's one thing to tell yourself it will be hard, and another to actually do it. Very different. I'll just touch on a few things.
1. The looks from the Chileans continue. When a man is staring at me, Hermana Asipita says "snakkkeeee," but if it's a grandpa you say "dragon." Am I the only one who finds that hilarious?
2. We got chewed out by some guy this week when we knocked on his door. Perk of not knowing spanish.....no clue what terrible things he said. What is that talk by Elder Holland about the sister missionaries and the mashed potatoes? Can someone send me that?
3. My life is a movie. Some of the things I see can only be described in a movie. Need I say more?
4. We had lots of milagros this week! My favorite was when I was talking to someone on the phone in English and this guy came out of his house, told me he wanted to learn English for his job. We turned it into a gospel discussion and he came to church yesterday! Still not sure if he's using me for my English or not, but inviting is my purpose!
We have a baptism on saturday of Jauna. Her husband is a member and every time we go over there he says, "hola hijas" or "hi daughters." I love that family!
I continue to learn lots and lots and every day is different and exciting.
We have lots of new investigators and I'm hoping it stays like that. My area is full of people and amazing things!
Yesterday an Austrialian lady asked me for directions to sushi. Speaking English was so weird!!!! I can't pray in English anymore, it always switches to spanish. Everyone tells me I'm doing super well and don't have a strong gringa accent. I just need confidence because I do know a lot of Spanish!
I hope this letter isn't a total buzz kill, but I'm not going to mince any words. Life is hard right now! And that's okay. I need to be stretched and learn lots before I can blossom!
I love the people of Chile also. My ward is so kind!
This week we watched a short clip on the restoration and after watching that my attitude totally changed. I need to forget about myself and the issues I'm having and focus on the salvation of these people. What an opportunity it is to serve a mission. I can tell you right now when I come home I will not be the same person because of the things I am experiencing.
I need your prayers and love! I encounter some pretty crazy stuff everyday and am always relying on the spirit to keep me safe (and this is a good area), haha. I know that angels surround me. I'm dead serious. I feel their protection all day long. I sure love this gospel and know the church is true!
Hey everyone! I am alive and well in the beautiful city of Santiago!
The plane ride was flawless and I had a blast with the people in my district that came with me :)
My new comp is from Argentina! She literally lives 6 hours away and her home temple is the Chile temple. She doesn't speak English. Ya take a second to process my life please. It's great though! Her last comp taught her enough to explain things well to me. Also, she really wants to study at BYU so she's trying to learn English. The rule is I talk to her in spanish and she talks to me in English. The system we have going is interesting. I'm grateful that the Mexico MTC was so challenging because it really did prepare me to understand the language.
My comp is so nice! She's fiesty, but very nice to me. She's such an angel I can't even handle it!
My area is called Diego de Almagro. It's a pretty nice part of this city, but it has its interesting parts....many people speak English and want to talk to me, but I'm told to respond in spanish. Chile is very Americanized. Chile is also very receptive to the missionaries coming over and they love to talk about Jesucristo! It's great. The trick is actually meeting with them again.
The langauge is coming. I actually know a lot more than I thought I did and can gather concepts easily.
My area is a melting pot and I meet people from all over. Usually they aren't Chilean. The food is super good. There are so many bakeries.....yep don't know how to spell anymore. I am grateful for a walking mission, but I pray I won't get hit by a bus. Also if I counted the cat calls I got everyday I could pay for my whole mission. They love blondes.
Because I do understand spanish my comp tells everyone that. That then leads to rapid spanish becuase they think I'm fluent. This sure is a journey.
Anyway I am busy and well! This area is white and ready to hear the gospel (even in my broken spanish). I am excited and love the other missionaries in my mission and the president (they are precious!!!)
We are teaching a lady with a baptism date on the 27th. She is amazing. So much faith. Her husband served a mission but went inactive. He's coming back though! I love that couple so much already. The husband tries to speak english to me and it's hilarious! He helps us teach.
Chile is a lot of what I expected, but with lots of surprises!
Some good news is my address will be the same my entire mission! So if you send packages deck that thing out with pictures of Jesus and Mary. Also put on the box "missionary supplies"
Hermana Josie Brinkerhoff
Misión Chile Santiago Oeste
I love you sooooooo much!!!!!!!!
[Josie had some technical difficulties that prevented her from sending pics of Chile, but here are a few last pictures from the CCM.]
We sweet-talked our teacher into letting us email in case we can't next week!
These past few days have been full of orientation and teaching our last lessons to our "investigators," a.k.a. our teachers!
I am scared out of my mind to head of to Chile on Monday (the CCM has become very homey), but I know that all things are possible through Jesus Christ. This experience in Mexico has been a blessing in my life, even though there were some very difficult parts.
Today in class we watched a video of a Chilean talking and I almost peed my pants (not really missionary talk, but it's the truth). He spoke a hundred thousand miles a minute and slurred everything together. My native Spanish-speaking teacher even said "I'm having a hard time understanding him." So in other words, pray for me these next few weeks/months until the language comes. Yikes.
I love you all and hope things are well in America!
Here are some pictures of my hilarious district and the teachers who are the sweetest EVER.
Also, can't forget about Elder Clements & his hair pre-mish. I found a boy with hair just like mine. In his words, "it's fresh." I am grateful for 7C & the people of Mexico!
Hello everyone from rainy Mexico!
First off my P-day got switched, I know you were worried, Mom ;)
In other news I leave the CCM Monday night and will be flying all night to Chile! So about Tuesday at 8 am your time I'll be just getting to Chile! I am very excited to leave, but super grateful for this experience. I kinda feel though, like I've been living in a dream and not in the real world. I think I'm ready to leave the walls!
This week wasn't uber exciting, but there were some fun points!
1. We sang "A Child's Prayer" in Spanish for tuesday devotional and everyone cried. It was a super neat moment. Even in Spanish the feeling is the same.
2. An elder in my district has a black belt and teaches what we call "hermana self defense" every night. His comp is his victim and it is soooo funny. I'm ready for you, Chile!
3. The new district that came in are our new buddies. I have a new love for volleyball thanks to the CCM. It's the best sport ever and so fun when the people are fun.
4. The Hermanas in my room and I had a serious heart-to-heart last week. We went around and talked about an issue we've been having. After that we talked about what we like about each other. Two of the girls said exact quotes that were in my patriarchal blessing and two things I really needed to hear. It was crazy.
5. Sometimes in the MTC they let us watch mormon messages. It's the best 5 minutes of my day. This week we watched "Because He Lives" and "Because of Him." I encourage everyone—non-member or not—to look those up. It is powerful.
6. Yesterday Elder Casteñda of the Seventy came into our classroom again. This time he wanted to watch us teach. I was teaching an elder in my district about church attendance and Elder Caseñda was literally right in my face. Pretty scary. You can imagine how red I got. Luckily, the Spanish came and it went well. After he pulled out some scriptures about church attendance and I learned so much from him. Once again he started crying and so I did too. I really like that guy and anyone who gets to come to the CCM with him as director is so lucky. He told us that when we teach about church attendance we need to tell them it's all about the Savior. He then told us that, "When your message is focused on Christ, the words will come." I took that to heart and I know it's true! The Savior is our only way to redemption.
I love all of you so much & love hearing about back home! The church is true & I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and am eternally grateful that I'm a member of Christ's restored church.
Wish me luck, my next email will be from CHILE!
-Hermana Josie Brinkerhoff
This is when we met Elder Oaks. Pretty sweet huh?
Hermanas Hopkin and Brinkerhoff representing Wyoming! (Next three)
Step aside, Beatles.