Derek opens his mission call

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Drunk from Tea?

Dear Everyone,

It's weird to think that it is like three am or something in your world. the day is like half way done here. cool though. time is confusing.

we were trying to figure out that, what with general conference and such. we don't know exactly how it's going to work. we are apparently going to watch Saturday morning's session live, like at 7 pm here. then Sunday we are watching like three sessions, or something. no one is really sure. I've never been actually excited to watch general conference before. all twelve apostles are talking to us! plus the first presidency! this is this best two days of the half year! i hope you all watch and learn. i wish i would have taken them more seriously. I've been reading old ensigns, the talks are so awesome! we are all really pumped over here.

oh, thanks for all the emails everybody. its all good about the letter last week, i got it now. and thanks for all the missionary letters, its way fun to read them. i think i can print out emails here, it just costs money. i will pay, we are all pretty loaded here. to answer some vaprosee: yes, we can buy most things here. well everything essential. there is plenty not here. good milk. ranch dressing. lined paper. all they have is like graph paper, weirdly enough. i don't really remember "the best two years", but actually i think it is more right than wrong, what i remember. i don't need anything yet, but i will keep you posted on what i want in my first package. and i don't know my address, so just send dear elders to the mission home for now. i think that is the best way to do it, really. though a nice hand written might be nice. hm. most of your questions i have answered in my outline, so I'll just follow that for now.

one thing i really like about this country are the stray cats and dogs. well, especially the dogs. they are everywhere-there is no pound or anything, so they just multiply like stray dogs and there are millions of them. they aren't like "call of duty" dogs, they are always happy, dirty dogs. just walking around, doing their dog stuff. we hit one in a marshutka a few days ago, i felt so bad. i think it lived though. i always just want to go up and pet them, but i don't, don't worry. i might bring one home.

this week was mostly routine, which i hate. hate hate hate falling into the same routine. i wish i had some say in my schedule, because i don't ever want to plan a forgettable day. i want to remember every day, do something awesome every day. i hate thinking about the week and it all blurs together. though there were some great moments this week:

Tuesday was my favorite, though it started out normal. we bought food, did a bit of conslackting, visited an babooshka, ate dinner, and then BOOM. we had a meeting with deyana, a girl who wants extra English help. we talked with her, just practiced some English grammar, got to know her, she was our only advanced English student that day, so we had 2 individual hours with her. then she asked if we were going to talk about our church. of course! we jumped into the first lesson, she wasn't super receptive, had a lot of interesting questions. it was in English, so that was cool. she is a really cool girl, smart and nice. she asked some good questions. like why Joseph smith? was he the first guy to ask that question? there are many types of people, Christ taught one group of people, other people should have different religions that fit them. eventually we ended and i bore testimony, and told her that the only way to know if our message was true was to read and pray about the book of Mormon. i felt the spirit powerfully testify, and she accepted the book and said she would start reading. i hope she does. we meet with her again tomorrow.

i learned a few things i already knew from that lesson: its important to develop a relationship with investigators. so they feel free to speak their mind. so you know them enough to relate to them. i don't know, i just don't think it would have gone so well if we hadn't become friends for 2 hours first.

also, i learned that finding common ground, and then adding to it is the most effective way to teach. there were moments where she would say something, and it would have been so easy to say, no, that's not true, and here is why. but that gets you nowhere. i saw how much better it is to point out her positive beliefs, and add to them, testify about them, teach our doctrine relating to it. it is so much less contentious, brings such a better spirit into the room.

i just felt like it went well. i felt awesome afterward, a real spiritual high. felt like i was fulfilling my calling here. that's how i always want to feel, how i wish i always felt.

Wednesday was weird. we had lots planned, but not much worked out. we went to a member's house, ate a lot of food, then felt terrible. later we went to this less active member's house, ate some more. some borscht, of course. some bread with weird stuff on it, that was OK. there were these mushroom looking things i put on, turns out they were eggplant. and turns out that I don't like eggplant. i gagged it down. I'm just trying not to offend people most of the time, which is more difficult than it sounds. then she gave us to drink some herbal tea stuff, with apparently a creature in it from Asia or something. the creature supposedly secreted some liquid to make the tea do something or other. she said not to worry if i got a little drunk. i didn't, thankfully.

we taught a lesson on humility, because they said she had a problem with it. she does. she said she was on a higher plane than non believer's, atheists, because she believed. they were low and she was high. she was inherently better. she had a dream where she sang to God more beautifully than anyone else, so i think that fueled it as well. it was really weird, she was old, and wore a see-through shirt (everyone does, it's like the 80's here. oh, and mulletts are HUGE). i felt like i understood a lot of the conversation, that was good.

it is hard to simplify most day's as good or bad. like Thursday. we did service in the morning, at a less active member's house, sister loobov (sister love). she fed us a lot of food, most of it not good. Ukrainians love mayonnaise, they cover everything with it. it's unfortunate. then a few other babooshkie (Russian Grandmother) came, i really don't like it. they are very condescending and strange. but i can't do anything about it. they think I'm stupid, i suppose, which i can't exactly prove I'm not in Russian. frustration.

then we tried to find an old investigator, but failed. we will try again later.

did a split with a member, talked with a couple less active girls. talked about why coming to church is important. they both, i think, admitted that they didn't have testimonies. so we both told them to read the book of Mormon and pray. it was sad, but at least they are honest. it is better than them lying to us. so it was an OK day, good mixed with bad. love doing service, don't like being talked down to. love trying to find investigators, too bad we failed. sad that they don't have testimonies, but I'm glad they are honest with us. i don't know how to describe what I'm thinking, oh well.

on Saturday all i remember is we met with this awesome family. it was way fun, they were loud and funny, just like our family, i felt at home. i just wish i could understand them and communicate. add to the fun.

Sunday was frustrating, as usual. three long hours of not understanding much isn't as much fun the fourth time. then we didn't do any missionary work. and my companion complained the whole day. the whole day. how much Ukraine is terrible. how bad Donetsk is compared to sumy. there is nothing i hate more than listening to complaints. get over it. whine whine whine whine whine. i guess I'm whining right now, I'm sorry.

i have made some goals to be more scheduled, especially in my free time. I've gotten a bit lax. like in the hour and a half in the morning, my companion just sleeps through it, so i feel like i can be lazy too. so i haven't done as much as i could to prepare for the day. so I've decided to: exercise every morning, AND eat breakfast. (ne znayu kak) use my study time more effectively. and use my night time more effectively. I've got it all scheduled out, it's great. you'd be proud, ma.

hm. how about my family tree? my dad, obviously is elder Mueller. my mom is elder Johnson. i never knew my grandparents, they were both killed before i was born. i don't remember who killed them. i just hope i haven't killed my companion. maybe i can resurrect him? (If you know what Derek is talking about here, please let us know.)

they told me my Russian is "better than most" for my age. i don't know if they are just being nice. i catch so many words, sometimes a general idea, but it is so hard to actually know what they are saying. I'm tired of thinking about language, really. it is so tiring trying to concentrate all the time. i just want to understand. it's hard to describe, but it's a demeaning feeling.

I'm going to try to send some pictures today. i hope it works.

anyways, thanks for the letters and prayers! keep both up. you are all awesome people. and we are very blessed with the things we have, so be grateful. people here are grateful for what they have, so... yeah.

ya vas loobloo.
c ^I-o6oB, elder Brimley

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

hey everybody:

thanks for all the emails, keep them coming. also i enjoyed Spencer's email, keep that coming too. and Zach's, I would like that. and by the way Alex, i got your dear elder a few days ago, that you sent, probably to the mtc on like august 29 or so. sounds like a good ninth grade experience, have fun. gotta love jr. high. if that gives you an idea of how long mail takes. not too bad, i hear packages take longer.

oh i forgot to mention in my last letter, i found these old pamphlet things we hand out to people, telling a little bit about the church/ restoration and stuff, and guess whose bright smiling face i see? elder brad sarafeenie (Serafine), that was pretty funny.

so, this week....

i felt really sick for a few days, earlier last week. i got a really bad headache on tuesday, and my stomach was painful, i don't really know what it was, not nausea, but something pretty bad. food poisoning? i'm all better now, my tela is adjusted to ookrayeena.

zone conference last tuesday was awesome. elder monchose (he's russian) came, like the president of the eastern europe area. he spoke a lot to us, he is an awesome guy. i understood a lot of what he said. a lot about speaking more russian, as companionships. i've noticed that in this mission, we don't speak much russian. it's too bad. it's hard to feel completely immersed when the majority of what i hear is still english. so i definitely want to do that more, although of course i cant really. zone conference we also practiced asking good questions, which was good. we learned a lot, it was a good meeting.

we tried to make a cake a few days ago. mueller is apparently something of a chef. although he isn't the kind of cook who uses "measuring cups". he ballparks everything, so the cake turned out very interestingly. delicious of course, but a really weird texture. we made it for a member, it was her birthday. we brought it over and hung out for a bit, it was awesome to see their family. three generations living in this teeny apartment, but they were all really happy and nice. it was a good night, they are a really amazing family. it didn't exactly feel like missionary work though.

that's what is frustrating seychas. i don't feel like i am doing much actual missionary work. so i don't always feel like a missionary. like most of our meetings are with babooshka members. i like babooshkie, they are cool and all, but i want to talk to people that don't know about the gospel. thats what a mission is, right? or we meet with other members, and my companion just messes around. yesterday we talked to this one member, jhenia, she has a couple sons, and mueller just played legos with them the whole time. legos. making like guns and shooting them. for an hour. then a short spiritual thought so we could count it as a quality lesson. or like english practice is really cool, i love it actually. but no one stays after it for the spiritual part. probably because of the way we invite them. "thats it for today, you can leave. if you want, you can stay late, in like five minutes we'll have a little spiritual thought, if you want." i think we should guilt them more into staying, but that's just me.

it's not totally mueller's fault, i think there is a lot of pressure to get 15 "quality lessons" per week. the lessons can be with anyone, as long as they begin and end with a prayer. they say that there is a "direct relationship" between them and baptisms. but i don't know, we got 15 qualities this week, but only met with an actual investigator once. i mentioned this in our weekly planning session, but he just said that's the way it is. i don't want it to be.

so then friday night we started a split, lasted till sunday morning. i went with elder richardson, one of my zone leaders. his apartment is amazing! the shower works, the water pressure is more than a drip, he has some tiled floor, and some carpet even. oh and couches. man i forgot how awesome life could be. richardson is in the oldest group here, so he has a transfer and a half left. he is always really excited and friendly when he talks to people, and he is awesome at russian. i got some good advice on studying russian. mostly we just contacted/ tracted (?) all day. but we saw some real success, i think. mostly because richardson, his friendliness and his awesome russian made it somewhat enticing.

we had one lesson with this really awesome lady, an investigator. she looked just like regina spektor, crazy. we talked about the plan of salvation, and christ's role in that, and then about joseph smith. it was in a park, so there were a lot of distractions, and she isn't all that interested in the message. apparently she just likes good conversation. i hope she develops a testimony, she was a really great lady, with a really cute little daughter.

oh, and while i was on the split, mueller and clarkstone (the other zl) visited our investigator larisa, and totally put her on date! october 3, if all works out! she is trying really hard to stop smoking, and she came to church yesterday, so i hope she really does, she is a sweet old lady.

saturday night with richardson, went tracting to some way out of the way chastnie domes, that we figured had never been visited, or at least not often. we met these really awesome 2 ladies, we started talking, and they said they had a question that they had asked many religious people, and never gotten a good answer to. something like, why do muslims and orthodox russians celebrate this same religious holiday. and richardson answered it, talked about the restoration, they were really impressed. talked about the restoration, about our church, gave them a book of mormon. they seemed really excited about it, said they would read, and wanted to talk more. they seemed like the real deal, potential investigators. it was a good split, i learned a lot.

sunday i was asked to bare my testimony in sacrament meeting. i did, it was ok, people said they understood it. which is all i can really ask for right now. after church we visited some more members. it's like, i don't really think they want us there. i want to be a missionary, proselyte or whatever. not just hang out with people all day.

i made a goal i'm excited about, i'm going to learn 20 new russian words a day. i got a bunch of flashcards finally. i love flashcards. i've started figuring out the words i want to learn, i've got a bunch of cards already made. i'm super pumped, i love flashcards. after almost three weeks here, i don't really see much progress. i can understand more, i guess, i'm getting through the accent more every day, but there is just so many words i don't know. man. like sunday night i was trying to have a conversation with jhenia, but my comp was playing lego's, so we kept having to interrupt his fun to translate something. it's so annoying, so annoying. i wish i was an english speaking missionary, or a spanish, i guess. ha ha ha ha ha, never thought i'd say that. no, i'm happy to be learning russian, i love it, but it gets in the way a lot.

all i ever want to do is talk to people about the church, because i have already seen that people are out there, looking for truth, and i really want to find them. because they are awesome, and my message is the answer. i bore my testimony to those 2 ladies on saturday about the kniga mormona (ya snayu shto, kniga mormona, izmenit vashy jhizn, k loochamoo) and felt the spirit bear testimony to me that what i was saying was true. i just want to do that all day. and i want to do it in a language i understand.

to answer dad's questions: haven't bought my winter stuff, though it did get colder last week. not bad enough though. we cook for ourselves, usually i just make bread with cheese on it. this one girl from english asked me to bring some of my peanut butter for her to try. i think i might have lost a little weight, but i don't have a scale so i don't know. lots and lots of frisky girls, i just keep my eyes forward. soccer is pretty big here, but i don't really know, as i don't watch tv or understand russian. we don't work out in the morning, usually my comp. stays in bed during the time we would. but yes, we get along great. and yes, send me some responses to my emails.

i wish i had more awesome experiences to share.

thanks for everything! email me more. especially you, siblings. oh and pray hard.

Love, Elder Derek Brimley

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 12, 2010

sup, yo

some things i forgot to write: yeah, i think you have to go pick up the package. i thought they would call you. i think it is at the ups store in american fork? if i remember. i could be wrong. and i got a couple of dear elders that were waiting for me when i came the first day. (man this keyboard is bad) they were accidentally sent here instead of the mtc.

they say to stay completely positive in my emails, so here goes.

the food here is really good. I've had some borscht, and other things that i can't remember. the milk has such an interesting flavor! I've always wanted to taste watered down sour cream. the bread really is delicious, and like 4 grivin (like 50 cents). or less. another thing about the food: my body loves it! like my intestines saying, "thanks!" it has sure been a fun roller coaster ride. lets just say, if there wasn't such great toilet paper here, i don't know what I'd do.

my apartment i found out, used to be called the rats nest, what a fun nickname! apparently there used to be a cockroach problem. though the other day, i lifted up a sponge in my shower, and lucky us, like 30 or so maggots had decided to join me! silly bugs, this is MY shower! i think they are gone. i asked my companion, who said our apartment is probably the worst in the mission. well, i guess it can only get better! about the time my lower body started having a party, they turned all our water off, so that was too bad, but you know, my toilet worked in a few hours, so no complaints here.

the people here are very... consistent. we try so hard to talk to them, and it seems like every time, unless they are drunk, they don' t talk to us. but gosh we are trying! our one hope for a new investigator was this old lady who took the book of Mormon, and she has been reading it. we went over and talked to her about it, trying to figure out what she thought of it. we asked her if we could share some more about our beliefs, and she asked if we crossed ourselves, or wore crosses. we said no, and tried to explain why. she wasn't interested after that. we will keep trying.

drunk people are everywhere. one lady had us come over, so we did. she seemed to be mocking us, but i couldn't really tell. she then turned to me and said something. i said "ya ne panimayu. poftaritya, pajhalsta?" (that is a phrase i use a lot.) she started to hug me and suddenly i feel a tongue sticking in my ear. she sucked on my right ear for a little bit, let go, and said "panimayish?" no. no i didn't. but what a new experience!

one thing i loved was English practice. it was really cool. i was helping this one guy for a while one on one. he came up afterward and said i was his favorite, that i had been the most helpful. unfortunately, we ran out of time so didn't have a spiritual thought. silly us, not planning. i guess I'm probably going to end up an English teacher. i think i can make English practice really cool, a lot better. there is a lot of potential, and it is a great way to get people interested in the church.

by the way, i talked to elder Hansen on the phone, he is doing good. he said he requested me for training but thinks president forgot. oh well.

we taught our investigators, which was cool. unfortunately we went with this member who kept on talking and talking. it would have been better without her, but it was still cool meeting with real investigators of the church. they are both older ladies, and i can't add too much to the lessons, but still cool. i can somewhat follow the conversation, which is improvement. elder Mueller is a good teacher, I'm excited to teach more with him. i just wish we taught more.

we are getting along really well. he just isn't much of a talker, unfortunately. he is from Washington state, and has been here for ten months, about. this is his fourth transfer here, so i think he is bored of the area.

oh, the transportation is great here. it is like 1 grivin, which is like 12 cents. every time i ride the transportation i feel like I'm at Disneyland! like thunder mountain, when it gets all creaky, and the lights flicker on and off. or like Indiana Jones, when the car stops, and shakes around, then goes again just in time. or space mountain, when you just shoot off suddenly. it is a blast! it is also usually more crowded than Disneyland, getting very close to really old ladies with beards, or drunk smelly guys. that's always fun.

i think my time is up. I'm doing great, i love Ukraine, and Ukrainians, and to a lesser extent Russian. i love the spirit of missionary work, and this great gospel i am teaching. i know it is true, and that God is with us. and with you all. I pray for you all, please pray for me. hope i didn't forget anything in this. i don't have much time to read all your emails, but thanks for them, and keep them coming!

Love, Elderek (for you Nicole) Brimley

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


priviet vsye

mondays are my pdays now, so you all know.

Ukraine is awesome. I'm loving it. what have i done so far... wednesday we got to the donetsk airport, which was weird. it was just like a single landing place. and the plane was pretty small. the "airport" was this teeny little building, i only saw two people working there, to check our visa/ passports. we then met the president fry, his wife, and the AP. there was only one, because the older elders had already gone home. we went to the office, dropped off all our stuff, got some orientation stuff, signed some papers, sent you an email. we were all very tired and out of it, we had been up for like 30 hours or something, i can't remember. i'm pretty much over the jet lag, but it was bad for a while. then we went to the mission president's house, it is so nice! definitely the nicest apartment i've seen here, it was nice by american standards. i guess they have to live there for 3 years.

they fed us some, talked to us a little bit, i can't remember too well. we then went contacting with the ap's. (one was just a replacement ap, not the real deal). that was humbling, i realized it is pretty degrading and a lot less dignified than you'd think, people look at you like you are crazy. i felt like a jesus freak, i guess i am a jesus freak. most people just say no (ne nada, spaciba, net, ya ne veryoo, there's lots of ways to say no) but some people, almost surprisingly do talk to us. young people are very interested in english club, i think that's pretty cool. lots of people are just surprised we are here. not exactly a vacation spot. they think americans are cool. people come up to us to shake our hands sometimes because we are american. usually not too interested in our message, but what ever.

it's weird what is normal to say here. like one approach is "vi verooshie chelovek?" which means "are you a believing person?" but it's normal here, they say it. lots of drunk people, we talked to some yesterday, these two guys motioned for us to come over, so we did. one was interested in us, the other was too cool. we talked about america, and why we were here, they smelled really bad and slurred all their words together, making it quite impossible for me to understand. it is scary enough talking to random people on the street, but it is even scarier here, where it is against their culture to even smile or look at each other. i said hello to one guy, not even to try and talk to him really, and he came up to me and asked me how i knew him. i said i didn't, just saying hello. he was very happy, and said hello again, and shook my hand. when we said we were mormons he started laughing and walked away. ladna.

thursday we hung out with the presidents, got interviewed, talked some more, had a testimony meeting with the aps, presidents, and us four that came. during our interviews we found out where we were going and who our trainers were. it was all meaningless to us. it was to be kept very secret from everyone. my first lesson was on thursday night, with an english student. it was cool and interesting, we taught the first lesson. i taught with elder neal (i don't know how to spell his name in english). the kid was like 16, and mostly interested in english. but we talked about basically the whole first lesson, and then watched the restoration video. we taught in very simple english, so he would understand, which was cool for me, i could help. i asked him after the video if he thought the gospel was restored, and he said yes. they met him last tuesday! he had been reading the book of mormon a bit, and now he has a baptismal date! neither i or the elder i taught with are in his area anymore, but still it is cool. apparantly that doesn't happen very often.

friday was transfer meeting, a lot of the elders came to the branch building and we had a meeting where we all found out where and who with everyone is serving. my companion is elder mueller (i think that's how you spell it) and i'm serving in petrovski. it is like a suburb of donetsk. my district has four elders, but our branch is one of the biggest in the mission. like a hundred people come every sunday. it is very strong. apparantly a few weeks ago, a guy walked into church dressed like a normal member, and said he had read the book of mormon and wanted to be baptised. cool. my area is huge, so there are some of the poorest parts of the city here, and some of the richer. i can't say "rich" because i went to that part, and it was pretty humbling. we tracted through it, it was all chastni domes, like personal houses, but they were all very small, dirty, falling apart. knocking doors wasn't very successful, though we gave a couple books out, and got a couple numbers. one babooshka said "chitat ya lublyoo", or "to read i love" but said she didn't understand too well, so we offered to come back and help. one lady we told about the restoration, and she said she was interested. we then gave her a free book of mormon and pamphlet, and invited her to free english lessons. i think she was a bit overwhelmed. but we got her number so hopefully something will happen. i guess it probably won't, but i have faith.

my companion is a cool guy. i kinda had this idea my trainer would be this awesome, talkative, helpful missionary who talked with everyone he saw and gave me a bunch of tips. but i guess this is reality. he is nice, but doesn't talk much. like we go contacting, and we pass so many people without talking to them. it's weird for me to think that i'm going to have to be more of a leader in our companionship. i can't speak russian. even when people seem interested, he... gives up very easily. like this guy came up to us and shook our hands for being americans. i told him about english club, and he said he couldn't. he talked a little bit, and i didn't understand, then my companion said oh well, good bye. i found out the guy had said he couldn't do it on tuesdays, but could on mondays. if i had known, i would have been like, sweet, lets meet on monday. its not like we have anything else going on. he also always sounds really bored, and mumbles so i can't understand stuff. i'm trying to look all happy so people are interested, because just smiling sometimes gets people to talk to us. but he just isn't very excited. just his personality. we had our planning session, and like all of our meetings are with ward members. i don't want to strengthen members, i want to find people and bring them to christ!

oh! i think i lost my scriptures on the way here. i'm so sad. i might have just left them somewhere, but it is sad. i put three of my nametags in my case, so i really hope it is like in the mission office or something, i just cant remember where i left them. darn it!

church on sunday was interesting. as much as i tried to understand, it just is frustrating, then my head hurts, so i stop paying attention, then i get bored, then i get tired. all the members are so friendly. like it is such a stark contrast between the members and the random people on the street. you can't see the difference as well in utah, i don't think, between non members and members. but the gospel makes such a difference! so it frustrates me when i try to talk to people, and they just say 'ne nada', 'i don't need', when i can very well see that yes, you need. everyone needs. but especially you. walking here, to this internet cafe, i saw a man laying in the dirt, not moving. we weren't sure if he was dead or not. i don't think so, but he was very well drunk, it is noon here, i don't know how he could be asleep in the middle of a loud busy street, sun shining on his face.

it is an interesting smell here. it changes every few feet it seems, and it is never very good. i woke up on saturday morning, and it smelled a lot like strong urine in our apartment. either it went away or i am used to it. everyone smells like smoke and alcohol. everyones teeth are terrible. if they are lucky they have silver teeth, but most of the time no. the elevators are like a fourth of the size of the average in america, and much less reliable. all the buildings are just old, like soviet union old, so they are dirty, wrecked, falling apart. there are so many domes! they are all the exact same. every one of them. it is kind of cool, so different from america, but also it is kind of scary, like out of some dystopian novel, or horror movie. just these giant buildings, as far as you can see. ha ha, we were going to get on the elevator to get to president's apartment after our lesson on thursday night. we were waiting for the elevator door to open, and we hear this weird noise, i thought it was a dog. the doors open and this giant pig standing there, and this lady. elder neal hurriedly took a picture, i didn't have my camera unfortunately. it had horns and everything! the best part was it was just the lady's pet, not even on a leash. she was just taking it for a walk. she told it to go forward, and it did. it was just like a dog. we died laughing. welcome to ukraine, that's what everyone keeps saying when i ask why something is the way it is.

i tried the milk on saturday. it tastes like cheese. like moldy cheese. oh well. there is always water. well not always. the bread is awesome here, and super cheap. and they have these awesome cookies, delicious. this ward member made us some food the other day, it was like crepes kind of, but filled with this stuff. i don't really know what i ate actually, but it was good, that i know. and she gave us this drink, like sort of fruity, and a weird onion looking thing floating around in it. it was ok, like kool aid kind of, but not as sweet. i haven't eaten too much ukrainian food, the fry's fed us for the first few days.

the language is rough, man. its so annoying not knowing what is going on. when people try and ask me a question and i have no idea what they said. especially when my companion doesn't help. i get frustrated and sometimes have to force him to translate. i guess it will come, slowly. i think i probably know a lot more of the words they are saying than i think i do. just the way they say it is so different. that accent is nuts. plus much faster than i am used to. and the words all in different order. and older ukrainians don\'t pronounce their 'g's. they just say 'h'. strana. its fun though, when i do understand. sometimes i understand, just much too late to reply to it.

anyways, i proabably should go. thanks for the email, expect my next at this time next monday. I love you all! stay faithful! be grateful for what you have. this place is humbling. we are all extremely blessed to live where we do. don't take it for granted. The church is true, and the gospel makes people happy. so apply it into your life. keep the commandments! Ukraine is not yet dead!

Love, Elder Brimley

Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 1, 2010


i'm sitting in the mission office right now! ukraine is awesome, though i haven't exactly done much yet. the flight was crazy awesome. we were in JFK, and we felt like we were in a rush, and there was a huge line. we got in it, and went through it. this random lady comes up to us, writes down our names, and walks away. when we get our tickets, they are magically in first class. that was the best thing in the day. we felt it was a miracle. i placed my first book of mormon, with my testimony in it and everything.
i find out tomorrow who is my trainer, and where i'm serving. i don't know when p day is, though aren't they usually on mondays? so i'll let you know then. i'm crazy jet lagging right now. i feel greasy and i could fall asleep instantly. but we are going to go teach and contact after we do some rules and stuff.
donetsk is cool. everything is dirty and falling apart. everyone...speaks russian. the airport was hardly an airport. just like a landing strip with a building.
I'M IN EUROPE! this is definitely the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.
anyways, i'm just supposed to say i didn't die on the plane. so there you are. sorry i couldn't call, there was no time. ha ha, it is 7:00 am utah time, but like four pm (i think) here. yeah, i'm really tired.
love you all, talk to you soon!

elder brimley

August 24, 2010

thanks everybody who sent letters or packages, especially this week: the Michael Bradshaw family! i loved the bread and honey butter, and notes. thanks kaylee's friend who i don't know but took the time to write me a letter. from what brat pierce (brian?) said, he got the same at the mtc. thanks! also, thanks for the other packages, i am loving the junk food, and my beautiful gray sweater. it has gotten me through many cold nights here, and cold mornings waiting in line for breakfasts.

next, and infinitely more importantly (sorry): flight plans! ! ! ! i am very excited to announce that i am almost sure that i leave this country on tuesday, the 31st as planned. of course, there is a chance this won't happen, but it is almost sure. i fly from salt lake to new york city, to austria, straight to donetsk. so here is the plan. IF i go next tuesday, i can call from new york, where my biggest layover is. we were trying to figure it out, the time zones and such, and this is our best guess. we are in ny for about 2 hours 20 minutes. in utah time this is about 1:30 pm to 3:50, we think. our other layover in austria is a bit less than 2 hours. and we think it is like at 12:30 to 2:30 am utah time. plus, in europe, so not much chance to call. this is all we know so far.

if i don't call you on tuesday, then my visa isn't here, or letter of invitation, or whatever. and i will email you then and let you know what is up. we went and talked to the travel office today for some news on the bizniss, and what they said was this: they put in our names for temporary reassignment, because they didn't think our visas were going to be here on time. THEN, they found out they are on their way, so cancelled our temp reassignments. but they don't know exactly when they will be here, so they don't know if we are really going to leave on tuesday. but no more than a few days late, if that. on friday, we find out for sure, so we are all pretty tense. but it is better than not knowing anything. PRAY FOR US.

i think i'm going to send a package home, like on saturday or something, and i will let you know what happened. along with the extra weight not allowed on the planes.

things i need... i don't think i want another sweater thing, but thanks. i can't really think of anything i 'need', plus, we are under some strict weight constraints. apparantly we are going to want peanut butter, they tell us. and i think that maybe some of those delicious white cream bar things would be well received. you are the best!

the missionaries kotorie are going to the kiev mission are all being delayed for like four days because of, oddly enough, the temple. the mission president is too busy to deal with them. those poor suckers.

what happened this week... we hosted the new elders. it was interesting, reliving those terrible memories, watching families being ripped apart, then trying to get the new elder all pumped up. fun just relaxing, showing them around, giving smoe advice, but not fun watching them say goodbye. not cool. but we get to do it again tomorrow, so i'm super pumped. oh yeah, i've seen jake a couple times, i got the hug you sent. he seems to be doing well, he was telling me he wanted to go already. i just started yelling at him. well not really but i told him how it was. give it more weeks, buddy. no, it was good to see him. i guess the harts saw me? should have yelled my name or something.

oh yeah, and what the crazy, allison's boyfriend. i saw him again yesterday and talked to him a bit about it. i approve, allison, he seems like a good guy. he was a good help, actually, at the fake teaching appointment. he seems like he will be a good teacher, too bad i won't be here for him. i almost wish i could stay an extra month. well no.

hm. sunday i saw napoleon dynamite. he was randomly sitting in the lunchroom right by where we usually eat. we were all freaking out. his voice is normal, sadly. and then he walked away. best part of the whole week. should've gotten his autograph.

we haven't really been learning much russian, just practicing old stuff, and memorizing scriptures. article of faith 13, that was a doozy. not as hard as i expected. we now know 2,3,4,5,6, and 13. plus some other scriptures. i like memorizing stuff, it is a much easier way to learn vocab, and put them in context. plus you can quote parts of them, and you can know it is grammatically correct, something you can never assume elsewhere. i really think the only next step is immerssing myself into russian completely. we have other grammar to learn i guess, but i think i have the fundamentals pretty well. now i just need to learn how to speak in practice, not just theory like we have been doing.

which is the point of syl, but that has been failing pretty hard. it is just too easy to speak english, so we start off strong, then gradually lapse back into english. once we don't have a choice but to speak russian, we will do better, but for now, we, i don't know, maybe it is just laziness. but yeah, i feel like i've hit a brick wall, and i need to go to ukraine to further progress.

well, da svidanya, i'll talk to you soon!
love, elder brimley

August 17, 2010

(Note: Derek got a few speeding tickets just before he left on his mission. We got a letter from the driver's license folks saying Derek was supposed to show up for a hearing or his license would be revoked. I called them up and explained that Derek is in the MTC, and they were very very firm that Derek had to be the one to come in or call to make things right. We called the MTC and gave the information for him to call the DMV. Well, Derek was given permission to give us a quick call to find out any more about it before he called the driver's license people. So we (Steve, Mary, Nate, and Anna) got to talk to him for about 5 minutes on the phone.)

Dear Family,

called the government. "it's all good". oh man, and it was awesome to hear all your voices! i realized how much i miss all of you. not homesick miss, but just wanting to talk and be around all of you. does that make sense? i don't want to come home. i want to move far, far away. but i miss you.

and a special thanks to: grandparents! awesome letter. love hearing about whats up, thanks. the serafine family! loved all the letters, and the cookies, and the swedish fish. especially the swedish fish. and the letters. love the support and love. and even kelli, got your letter today! thanks so much! what a lovely surprise. and sister lisonbee! how did you know i loved chocolate covered strawberries? that was the best thing i've tasted in a long time. thanks the bernards! you are the best people in the world! everyone else who sent me letters, thanks!

we tried out a "game" for syl, (speak your language) it kind of worked for a while, with punishments for speaking english and rewards for speaking russian. no time to explain, but it kind of worked. we also had an syl meeting, for the last two weeks we are supposed to syl sto pratsentive. it was weird, the dude didn't mention syl once. it was actually really weird. he talked a lot about faith, and being reverent, and humble, and we talked about Jesus raising lazarus, and at the end he said very quietly, "you know when you should speak russian. should you speak russian in comp study? you know when you should speak russian." i was expecting like a motivational something. they got us all excited about it. i don't know. i feel less inclined to speak my language now.

in better news, we memorized the 4th and 5th articles of faith this week. that was helpful, hopefully somewhere in the future. we taught a lesson in russian earlier today (brat Toone, know him, garrett?), just a random fake investigator, and i felt like i could say a lot that i wanted. but i understand that i can't really say that much. i can just say partially what i want to about the plan of salvation. but to have some random conversation with a real person is totally different. and understanding native russians is much more difficult than our teachers, who slowly enunciate everything in a nice american accent for us. i think they should pair everyone up at the beginning with a native russian. i could have learned so much more if they did that.

i finished the book of mormon, did i mention that last time? i've read it before obviously, but not here. awesome stuff. i am now reading the new testament primarily, along with D&C and the kniga mormona. i'm loving it. i've never liked reading scriptures for hours each day as much as i do here. which everybody says, but it's totally true.

i now have a connection with all the teachers. sister jensen played the violin at our russian concert first semester. crazy stuff. oh and this random dude in the lunch line started asking me where i was from. apparently he was in my 3rd grade class, though i don't remember him. but he remembered me and knew a bunch of people, so i believe him. ah, utah county.

so there are some crazy rumors about the Ukrainian visas: the dude who signs them off is trying to eliminate religion in his country, and isn't letting us in. i heard from several different sources, one a missionary now in ukraine. but apparently its going to be ok, i don't know why. maybe it is just a rumor. i guess we will see. because we get our flight plans this week! probably on thurs or fri. and we get to "host" tomorrow the new missionaries. should be a fun week.

hey, could you send me mail from other missionaries? that would be cool. like adam, zach, jake, spencer, eric, kj, everyone i know. does jake come in tomorrow?

I'm flipping (very) excited to leave here. i like it OK, sometimes. i liked it a lot more when i first got here. i guess that is normal. I've been through like three or four English speaking mtc's. there's a lot i love, like the teachers and the learning and the time, but a lot of the people are crazy, and the schedule is driving me crazy, and the food is delicious and plentiful, but I've eaten it way too much. people keep telling me it gets better in the field. which i believe, but I'm tired of always waiting for my life to improve. like life will be good after high school. but in college i couldn't wait for my mission. now i can't wait to get to Ukraine. what if i won't be able to wait to go back home? hm. it is just all practice here. I'm pretending to teach pretend investigators all the time. everyone is like in role. I'm acting like a missionary, they are acting like teachers, people act like they are investigators, it is getting ridiculous. I'm just ready to go. well not "ready", but I'm ready. panyatna?

oh and I'm jealous of the harry potter land adventures, but, you know, how jealous can a person be who is going to Ukraine? i hope you had some fun.

so apparently they are going to kick me off really soon, i don't know when. if this email stops half sentence you will understand.
Love you all!
Elderek Brimley