Derek opens his mission call

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 27, 2010

July 27, 2010

(Note: Derek’s letter from last week didn’t go through, so we got two letters today.)

I cant believe it didn't work! i had no idea it didn't work. how was i supposed to know? it sent, it sent. i promise i sent it. i tried sending it again, it better work. i got your package today (thanks!) and until then i didn't know it didn't work. i'm going to be so mad if it doesn't work today.

on another note, thanks mom and anna, the only writers of the week.

anna: good job on the dog and the flower. you should use your new skills and start a business. did you have fun skating? no, i haven't seen bro wilson. and my favorite candy is whatchamacallits, though the toblerone you sent was delicious. and thanks whoever tested it out for me, i wouldn't want to eat the whole thing of course. the food here is delicious and plentiful. i have an idea for you: read 100 books. i think you can do it. thanks again for all the letters. you are the best writer, by far.
nate-good job throwing up at lacrosse! that is the sign of a good game. keep it up. and write me some letters. if anna can do it, you can. stay awesome.
alex- glad to hear you are feeling better, and you get to go to efy. i never did go. just don't come back with a boyfriend, i know too many people who have, and they are all weirdos. try and stay focused and have a bunch of fun.
scott.- sounds like you are busy, but that doesn't mean you don't have to write me. i mean, i gave you like all of my awesome stuff. you owe me.
nicole/garrett- not much news from you, so not much to write. if i haven't told you, i will be gone before you can come volunteer while i'm here. i think i'd get in trouble anyways. it's too bad though.
mom-thanks for the letters and delicious food. and oh yeah, i was totally right about your awesome calling- super important. get all of those guys on missions! oh my gosh, i'm sorry to hear about grandpa falling down those stairs, i hope he is ok! do they read these? if they don't, send my well wishes.
dad- no news about you this week, so i don't know what to write. keep up the good work?

to answer a few questions:
all my district is from utah except one canadian and one from idaho. i guess my companion technically thinks he is from mexico, though. which i love to hear about. all the time. he just received a mexican flag today, which will be hanging prominently in our room. i think he thinks mexico is a good country for some reason.

the temple was open this morning, so we went. obviously very good. though it had been a while, and needless to say, i had forgotten some. so it was a good reminder.
yes, i got a backpack. its kind of weird. maybe i'll send a picture.

i love my teachers, though ponzach and pierce have been gone for the past couple of weeks, so we've had substitutes. we even had a substitute for one of our substitutes. but it's cool, i like having some fresh teachers. though our main sub is brat shiliakin, from ukraine, he is pretty rough. hard to understand. but he talked to us about culture for a while, and it was the coolest thing ever. i think all our old teachers are back this week, i'm excited.

my district... where to start. it is an interesting culture. very very different people, we all pretty much get along. there are certain little groups within the district that get along better, obviously. we teach in russian again tomorrow. i'm not too bad, i can talk around quite a bit, but there is a long road ahead of me to fluency. a long, long road. but i can teach the first lesson, and most of the second, mostly in my own words. which is crazy to think about. i feel like i know nothing, even when i'm teaching, but sometimes i suprise myself. we have been working on the 2nd lesson, which we don't teach for another week, so hopefully i will be very ready. we shall see.

i didn't know it was pioneer day until sunday when someone mentioned it in their talk. that's how sheltered i am right now.

no, its a lot of fun. i see friends all the time. this place is basically lone peak and byu, so i know lots of people.

oh i totally got a haircut today, it is as short as they would let me cut it. maybe i'll send a picture. i like it.

last saturday i had this weird experience. it was like i couldn't learn anything. i tried, and nothing would stick. i couldn't focus very well or concentrate on what i was trying to do. it was a weird feeling. then sunday came (literally in russian sunday means resurrection) and i was all better. but i am learning a lot about the limits of my brain. i'm definitely on the outer edge.

ha ha, sundays we have musical numbers, i was in it last week. they are never very good. two days ago, though, it was especially bad. they sang come come ye saints, and for some reason they had this elder sing like an octave above everyone else. he couldn't do it. it was very difficult to keep a straight face.

we get new elders in our branch tomorrow, everyone is really excited for new faces, and to show off our russian. we plan on reciting the first vision as if it were conversation so we sound very smart. poor kids.

i hit the half way mark this week, it is just insane.

oh, we got to get off campus today for an hour, mendoza needed new glasses. it was just provo, but it was strange to see a bunch of new things. i haven't seen new things for 6 weeks. it was awesome. that probably sounds weird. oh well. if this email doesn't work, i'm going to be mad. which isn't allowed here, so it better work. let me know if it does. i don't know what happened last week. i thought it sent.

i have too many paragraphs i think. i've gotten 'enter' happy.

oh well. anyways, still loving it, mostly. the church is still true, i still love you all, but i got to go.


July 20, 2010

July 20, 2010

it's been over a month now, and i'm still not even halfway done with my time here at the mtc. its crazy how fast time goes, but i still want it to go faster. the older district is leaving this week, some are already gone. i havent really gotten the itch to leave until now. but i know its good i'm here, i need this badly. but i'm so excited its ridiculous. oh, and sorry mom, you totally did write me, i looked it up, it just seemed like much more than a week. i apologize. and by the way, after a couple of weeks, i've decided i actually do like packages. i've finally run out of food from the first one you sent. and a big shout out to the serafine family, especially allison and brad, for writing me letters this week, you have honored your family big time. who will win in this next week's competition?

so i can't really remember what i wrote last week, or the week before, so hopefully i don't repeat myself too much in these things. thanks so much, dad, for the pictures! they were way cool, i didn't know i could get them. and nicole, i don't know if i can send pictures over the internet, but i'm pretty sure i cant. i'm going to try and print some pictures out and send them home, so maybe you can see a picture of a picture somehow? ya ne znayu. congrats to matt and stacy for their pregnancy! i guess just stacy. i'm not sure if they read this, so if they don't, send my congrats somehow. and congrats uncle mike for getting the big job, you'll do great.

anna: thanks for being the best writer of the family, though i must say that i'm not at the mtv, i'm at the MTC. just so you know.
nate, loved the pictures of you, you look like you are playing hard, have fun. 
alex, heard you are doing better, that's good, and got to go to girls camp. thats too bad, my experience with girls camp was scary. it's unfortunate you had to go through that.
scott, you should probably write me, so i can make a witty comment through email about your life. nicole, you are a good writer, almost as good as anna. thanks for all the letters. and when i say nicole, i of course also mean garrett.

so, whats new, whats new. not much, actually. oh, one thing: every thursday we clean our classroom, and then get judged on how poorly or successfully we cleaned. our judge was this crazy lady, who left a note the first week that said "it was so dusty in here i sneezed" or something like that. the next week we tried really hard, but left a bit of dust on the windowsill, and she failed us. so then we tried really hard, and we got a note that said "spaciba! your mothers would be proud." we feel that we have done our part and no longer need to clean the room. the gym is closed for the remainder of my stay here, which stinks, stinks real bad. they are installing new bleachers or something. also it means that our firesides will now be broadcast on tv's around campus, so that also stinks. but we mostly just play soccer, so thats not too bad. i think the temple opens next week, so hopefully next tuesday we will get to go. though i don't know how i'm going to get anything done on p-days with 2 fewer hours. i guess i'll have to stop writing any letters.

oh, so every tuesday we have a fireside, then afterwards we talk about the fireside for an hour (with a member of the branch president, so everyone is trying to be very impressive). last week, we were talking about how a single missionary can baptize one dude, and then he has a family, and so on. normal missionary talk, everyone making a big deal out of it. elder palmer (he's in my district) chimed in with this wisdom: "there is a positive correllation between knowledge of exponential functions and desire to share the gospel". he is a funny guy. hmmm, i cant really remember much that has happened. it's all very blurry.

oh, the trc went really well last week. it was our last time teaching in english, and i think we did the best we have ever done. we totally focused on the girl, tried to resolve her concern, kept her part of the conversation. it was cool, we weren't perfect, but we saw improvement. and the russian was very good, of course i did most of the talking. tomorrow we teach the first lesson in russian. ha! we have been practicing and stuff, it is fun actually. i mean, i cant say very much, but i am surprised at how much i can talk around if i need to. i can get pretty much the whole message across. very simply, slowly, lots of crazy grammar mistakes, but who cares, i'm teaching a gospel lesson understandably in russian. it is just nice to see that my hard work is making a difference. i can pretty much understand what is going on, teach doctrines, just all from memory. it's so nice to see hard work pay off.

so i was thinking, i kinda want to know what zach is saying in his letters. maybe you could coordinate with his mom and get his emails, and dear elder them to me? if it's not too much trouble. i see him all the time, but we never have time to sit and chat or whatever. same with eric's letters, actually, i want  to know what he is up to lately.
hm, i'm really digging the book of mormon. i'm like halfway through alma, and i've never enjoyed it so much. i've never read it this fast, like all in a row, so i'm putting everything into context that i've never been able to do, and i love it. we talk about the book of mormon all the time here. like on sunday we had a whole lesson on it, and how it is such an amazing missionary tool. it's so true. every day i get all excited about reading it, i know its so nerdy and missionarie of me, but its true, i love it.

um, one minute left, and i've run out of things to say. ya znayu shto bog vastanavil svayo evangeleye. eta istina! i love you all! stay strong !

elder elderek brimley

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

One month in the MTC

Well this week went fast. For me, anyways. I mean, same stuff everyday, you'd think time would slow way down, but it doesn't. I've never been awake for such a large percentage of the day, and just been in a classroom for the majority of it, and yet the days go by like bullets. This week, what happened? everything is blurring by. We had our first SYL "day", where we started out pretty good, but after lunch it just didn't happen. we just don't know enough yet. But I was actually surprised at how much I could get across, and talk around stuff so people could understand. like for gym we played "chetirie square" which was fun. we also started practicing teaching the first lesson in russian, which was interesting. We know a bunch of vocabulary, but putting them all into sentences is totally different. but it is fun, trying to communicate in a different language. i love it so much.

We also got our first "progressive investigator" which I'm very excited for, he is just a teacher who pretends to be this dude, we are going to teach him the lessons , and pretend he is a real guy. sounds corny probably to you, but it is as real as it gets here. I'm getting all excited to have real investigators, but i've got a long ways to go.
we have a substitute for brat ponzach this week, he is this awesome ukrainian guy. it's sometimes hard to understand him, and i'm realizing how weird i'm going to sound to them over in ukraine, because he is very fluent in english, but it is still funny how broken it is. he is really cool, very ukrainian, straightforward, almost rude. i like it. we had this russian girl we taught in the trc last week, she didn't really know what she was supposed to do, but just talking with her gave me an idea about what they are like over there. she was very smart, and talkative, and it was awesome how forward and direct she was. i wish we were more like that over here. i think we sugarcoat things too much sometimes. we had an awesome fireside on sunday, elder oaks was there. Though he was just there to see his daughter, who played the violin for us. she is like a violin prodigy, played since she was four, it was incredible. she looked like she was 20, but she was totally 35 with four kids. weird. but she could play the violin like i've never seen. and it was a nice break from people just talking at us.

they keep showing us these awesome clips of apostles at the mtc getting after missionaries. elder bednar and elder holland are... passionate about missionary work, and watching them tell us how it is is a welcome relief. i love when they just say what they want. it is so awesome here!

I can't believe it's been a month. it feels like i got here yesterday. and that i've lived here all my life. its a weird feeling. Our district is gettng to be good buddies, for the most part. me and elder thomas played some piano the other day, we both have the ben folds music and played it. it was nice , i really miss playing piano. so practice while you can, nate! the older district in our branch is leaving next week, which is depressing. they are cool elders, and they are so lucky. but they've done their time here and deserve to get out, i guess.

right now we are learning how to teach someone how to pray in russian. which is random, but not too difficult. tommorow that is part of our trc task, so we can almost do most of it now. wednesdays always sneak up on me, it's so rude.

hey thanks alex and scott for the letter/emails! i love hearing about you guyses lives. alex! mono?! what have you been up to? tsk tsk. well i hope you are feeling better. and scott! a kissing scene!? thats awesome. but stay worthy. oh and dad, that's way cool about work, i hope you love your job! i don't really have advice for you, you being the dad, but i'm excited for you, it sounds like it will make life better. mom- i don't think i heard from you all week. so i don't really know what i can say, but i love you! thanks for everything, i always love getting your letters, so keep them flowing. i think anna is the best writer out of all of you. I wish i could tickle you right now! give fredward a good hug from me. and nate, i could use some more letters from you, too. tell me about what is going down, man! how is lacrosse/ being strong and awesome? i know it can be a burden sometimes. did i forget anyone? oh, nicole and garrett- thanks for all the dear elders, they are great. keep them coming, i love news from the....outside world...
so i'm getting through the book of mormon surprisingly quick, i'm in Alma now. its a dang good book, i'll tell you what! i'm keeping a journal for what i read, its just good stuff through and through. so applicable and true. i really love the time i have every day to read it. especially sundays, i read straight for like four hours. though not just the book of mormon. jesus the christ is awesome as well! man i wish i'd had read that more beforehand.
Oh and i'm surprised i just figured this out, but watch this: my name is Elderek Brimley. cool, huh? i figured that out like an hour ago. no, p-days are not boring.

so, this coming week is going to be awesome, and then the next week is giong to be awesome, i've never been so positive in my life, its almost annoying me. ya ne znayoo, i just love learning russian, love learning the gospel, learning how to teach, the teachers, most of the elders in my district, the food, its just awesome here. most of the time. anyways, i don't want to run out of time like that one time, so i'm going to have to say goodbye. write me letters! I love you all! stay awesome! the church is true! the gospel is alove! Jesus Christ lives! its true!


Elder Brimley

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 6, 2010 (2)

dear family: my bad, last weeks email didn't send. not enough time. Dad: happy birthday! 47 years, you don't look a day over 20, george clooney you. oh and everyone else, happy 4th of july. we had a huge celebration here. it was weird, they had this program about how the founding fathers and stuff were inspired to set up this country so the gospel could come to the earth. which is cool, but the actors and costumes were... entertaining. eventually the angel moroni came out, the mtc president, in a nice white robe. it was nice and cheesy. then we got to watch the fireworks from the stadium of fire, until like 10:30! way past all of our bedtimes, but it was a crazy night. oh and thanks for the pumpkin bread, everyone said it was delicious. I've seen zach and eric, eric seems very and excited and happy, i don't know what you're talking about. At least when I see him. Russian is still huge and overwhelming, though i now have the first vision memorized, i can talk a little about families, make an appointment, and follow up on commitments (can't quite make commitments, just follow up on them) like say "did you read in the book of mormon"? or "it's unfortunate you didn't read out of the book of mormon." Yeah, they seem to make it a point to teach us their version of russian- totally formal and pristine. they refuse to teach any slang, like cool, or really anything but spiritual stuff. so i've taken it upon myself to teach myself some more practical vocab like foods and clothes and stuff. I have like a hundred flashcards. the grammar is completely screwy. every verb forces a different case for the next words, and we just have to memorize what it is. and there are two verbs for each verb, imperfective and perfective. like "to run" and "running". In less than three weeks, we teach the first lesson in russian at the trc. which sounds impossible right now. though when i think about it, i've been here  less than 3 weeks, and i feel like i've learned a lot. so as long as i don't level off, and work hard, i'm sure i can do it.
whoa I can create new paragraphs!!!! yay.
I don't know how long i can take being with someone 24/7. i almost exploded yesterday (i mean i kind of did explode).
We play soccer mostly at gym, it is a lot of fun, but a lot of exercise now that i'm fat. i totally score goals. i never used to do that in elementary school soccer teams.
What do you guys want out of these letters? I feel like i'm getting repetitive. like i'm writing the same thing every week. its hard not to, because i have the same exact schedule for every week, so we do the same things. write and tell me what you want to hear about.
Oh mom and dad- they let us read the ensign, and I totally thought of you when i read page 33 (the july one). and nicole, i thought of you when i read page 45, elder Ballard's one. Good stuff! everyone should read at least elder ballard's. he is an awesome writer.
I'm reading the book of mormon pretty much solely for personal study. I don't think i've ever read it straight through this fast. I just got to mosiah and like 300 years just flew by.
oh and if you didn't get the messages, i loved all the packages, but i don't have time to eat any food, they don't let us bring food to class. I still have almost all the food you've sent. Don't worry, they give us several desserts per meal. though i'm getting tired of the mtc food. eight more weeks! the older district is getting their flight plans next week, then leaving the week after that. i've never been so jealous.
I am still really enjoying the mtc, its just very confined, very repetitive, kind of like prison. everyone here is kind of already going crazy. I am. Just being with so many people all the time makes me want to scream. I dunno, I'm just used to being able to go into my room and read. Here, i share a room with three people, one of which i can never leave, and any "free time" i have is spent studying.
So, am i not going to get any emails from you ever? you know my address right? Its sad... I want to hear about whats going on.
anyways, this is probably a terrible email, I'll try to write more next time, not much really happens here. and i'm running out of time and last time it timed out early so I should just hurry and finish.
Thanks for everything, keep writing me! I love you all, the church is true, ya znayoo shto, kniga mormona, izmenee vashoo jhizn kaloocheemoo. ha ha, try and translate THAT!
Elder Derek Brimley

July 6, 2010

No email? do you guys know my address? its i think. anyways, thanks for the packages! they are great.. but, please stop sending me food! I don't have any time to eat it except right before bed and it is making me fat.. I got all the cookies and brownies, thank you mom for going along with zach's evil plot.. I'm lucky i didn't die.. Oh and I did mean that gray sweatshirt, with the zipper.. thats the one i meant, sorry.. its just very cold here, they keep our rooms at a frosty 65 degrees.. Oh dad, i leave around august 31, is what they told me.. it is definitely less than 12 weeks.. Ok. here we go.. Anna: thanks for all the letters! I'm glad to know you are thinking about me.. I miss you too so so so so so so much.. be a good girl for mom and dad.. and give fredward frank brimdawg shorttongue a big hug for me.. Nate: good job on all the merit badges! Stay active and crazy.. Oh and by the way, don't want to spoil it, but Harry dies at the end.. sorry.. The food is awesome here.. I think I have gained 10 pounds.. I weigh about 145, so yeah about 10.. my favorite dessert is ice cream, twice a week! we are so lucky.. Alex: good job at running every day.. Keep working hard at everything.. Good luck, I know you'll get to florida if you want to.. That would be a lot of fun.. Scott: I guess you know your ACT score now.. Let me know if it's good.. By the way, you should take Mr.. Rees for AP lit.. Have fun at Arby's, I know how much you love it.. Just keep working hard, money is all that matters.. Nicole: tell me about your missionary experience! how is florida treating you? you should send me a decorated cake of something.. and Garrett: does pancake mean "dang it"? You should send me some russian slang, they aren't allowed to teach it to us.. Hope all is well with you two.. Mom: sounds like your callin is more important than you thought? Have a missionary experience! I envy you, you can help a real person come to christ.. Good luck.. Thanks for all the letters and such.. Sounds like you are having a lot of fun.. Dad: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 34 years old, wow, time flies.. And no, the package came on time, we just didn't check the mail for forever.. Good to hear about work, good luck with the new projects, they sound like a lot of fun.. I'm sure they will help support the kingdom of God.. I think you'll be interested to hear that Stephen B.. Allen gave a fireside on the new stuff.. Pretty awesome! If you havent heard, on July 7, the new website is going up, people can post their profiles and stuff about being a mormon and what it means to them.. here is what brother allen said: "this is the reason the Lord gave us the internet.." pretty legit.. Everyone should do it.. We had an awesome week here, because the mission presidents are all here being trained.. We had a fireside with Elder Oaks, and seven other of the 12 apostles.. very amazing.. he talked about why our church is true.. this past sunday the entire first presidency and 10 of the apostles were here.. this place must have glowed.. Going on, Russian is hard, abut fun- I'm memorizin the first vision right now.. I've almost got it down.. We have a goal to do it by thursday, thus breaking some crazy record or something.. we learned a bunch of pronouns, there are just too many of those things.. for every case, for every gender.. it's ridiculous.. Cases are hard, but with this chart we have it's doable.. though without the chart we'd be in for it.. WE are praying comepletely in russian (our prayers have gotten quite simple).. and we can talk about our families in russian, and ask about others' families.. I'm getting better at reading the russian language as well.. We sing all our hymns in russian, i think that actually helps with pronunciation a lot.. weird.. After the first real week, I want some alone time.. I am with someone at all times.. Its hard to get used to.. I cant just go by myself and read.. it wouldn't be so bad if certain people would be quiet for a few minutes.. like MDT time, I really like it, we get an hour for personal study.. but it is hard when there are people goofing off all around me.. Makes it hard to concentrate.. feel the spirit.. I also have never liked falling into a routine, which I am doing, but at least I love the routine.. class consumes the majority of the day, about half russian and half learning to teach the gospel to investigators.. all they teach us in russian is the gospel stuff.. I couldn't have a normal conversation beyond "how are you" to save my life.. I wish they would teach us more useful, practical stuff as well as the spiritual stuff, but oh well.. the MTC and its ways... I'm getting to be better friends with the other missionaries in my district, elders atkinson, thomas, nielson, and pettersen.. The other three are the..... loud ones... Its funny how quickly the strong and the weak seperate..
We had our first TRC last wednesday.. I think it went pretty well.. we had to knock on some doors and bear testimony in russian, and set up an appointment, then come back and teach the first lesson in english.. I did most of the talking in russian, as my comp... anyways then when we were teaching the lesson, he tried to take over.. kept interrupting me during my parts of the lesson.. Man that was annoying.. Hm.. pray for me.. Anyways, ive got a minute left, so just know that I'm praying for all of you, I love you, and i know that this is the truth.. We have the truth, and it is our obligation to spread it.. Sorry about the bad grammar and