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