Dear family and friends,
whoa, whoa whoa. first i want to write thank you all for the support, i'm glad to know you are rooting for me back home, it is good to hear i'm not alone.
some questions that i've been meaning to ask: i know i've asked this before, and i don't know why i don't know, but where is our ancestry from? people ask me that all the time here, and i never know what to say. usually i just say utah, or europe.
onto the week...
well we fixed the shower, now it is... well it works better now. that is a relief, though i had gotten used to the old one so it wasn't so bad, plus our hazaika decided she wasn't going to pay for it. we shall see. on monday, a bankomat ate my mission credit card, right when i was taking out the money for the month. it is all figured out now, but that was super annoying for a few days, my companion had to pay for everything for me.
tuesday "they" turned off our gas. we were making borsch, when we realized the stove wasn't turning on. so all that stuff was ruined, really frustrating when, you know, we wanted to eat food. we ate a lot of cereal. no worries though, our landlady came and fixed it on thursday.
wednesday we were calling some former investigators, and this ira lady said sure, we could come over, as long as we came before her family got home. so we hurried and went over and had a good lesson during our regular study time. she was a really nice, fun lady, we had a good spiritual lesson, talked about the restoration and jo smith and his gold bible, and left. she is cool, but yeah, super protiv family, which is the reason a lot of people can't get baptised around here. but it was cool, we had a lesson with a non member, they are pretty rare. oh, wednesday was also the day that my companion read the first harry potter in russian. quite an accomplishment.
thursday was one of those days that everything we planned fell through. but that night we contacted a little bit, and we found a couple of really cool people. we have been concentrating on finding people to teach, out of the area book and from our own efforts, and we found that night two really legit people. the first was this french black guy, he seemed kind of interested. he speaks french, german, russian, ukrainian, and really good english, which is good for me. he said we could meet any time, so we will be. black people get baptized a lot here, by the way. i was surprised when i found that out. they are all really great people. then we found this other guy that night, he said he had met with mormons like fifteen years ago, when he was fifteen. now he has a wife and kids, and he said he wanted to meet with us this saturday. he was real friendly, joking around with us. so we will probably baptise him too. plus we found some other contacts that we will meet with and baptise. this area is changing, i can feel it.
friday we had a meeting with tanya, a recent convert/ inactive member. she is like 20 or so, really nice girl, but very open with us that she doesn't have a testimony. so we have been focusing on her, she seems to really want to develop this testimony thing. we made her a calendar, with like a chapter from the book of mormon every night, and at the end of the month is her "dyen svidetelstva" or day of testimony, where by that date or before, she will know the book of mormon is true, if she has followed the calander. i think she will, i hope she will. i would like to see her come to church. there are too many inactives here. like our ward list has hundreds of people on it, only a fraction come to church. i'll reactivate them. well, most of them. i'm not superman, you know.
saturday was interesting. i was on a split with clarkstone. there was a baptism of the branch president's daughter. it was... different. they don't have too much of a concept of reverence here. kids were running around and lots of talking the whole time. and he said the prayer wrong the first time, but no one said anything until they had almost completely drained the font. he redid it right, but the water was like up to his shins, and she wouldn't go under. after a few tries it worked out, but everyone was watching and laughing and being loud, it was, yeah, different.
then there was this "open house" thing, they made us stay the whole time in case anyone came. but like one or two people did, and we didn't really talk to them, members showed them around. so saturday was unfortunate, but nothing anyone could really do about it. we went to the lavriks, a really cool member family at night, which is always a blast. they are sooooo cool.
sunday was great. we had a meeting with another former investigator, yoolie. he is probably the coolest person i have met in ukraine. he was showing us his notes on the book of mormon (he has read it twice), he said he loves it, studies it hard core. at one point in his notes it says (in english (he is an english teacher)): "nephi definitely saw a vision of the end of the world, but refrained from writing about it, as that was the stewardship of john the revelator". his wife was very cold, which is the only reason he isn't a member. his son was like ten or so, and he said he really wants him to be a member of our church. he showed us ancient artifacts of an old city that he found when he was diving in the black sea, he said they are like 3000 years old or somehtng. he has a sweet collection of lots of history books, i was really jealous.
so we have found a few people willing to meet with us, and some of them we will baptise. for now, i'm just happy to have people to associate with other than members. i just feel more like a missionary when i do that.
the weather is pretty chilly, though not too bad. people are obsessed with the weather here. i haven't been wearing my coat, as it is much too warm. people, even like punk rebyatta on the street are always mentioning to me that i'm going to fall ill. everyone believes that disease comes from breezes. i guess i shouldnt make fun of their weird beliefs, but i'm not going to wear a coat if its not cold. "if your mother could see you..." "what are you doing out here naked?!" i don't understand it much, so i don't mind the babooshkie reprimanding me.
for the package i think i mentioned like cake mixes, brownie mixes, other sort of delicious mixes. that's all i can think of.
by the way, i always read everyones emails to me, usually i print them out so i can read them more in depth later. i am going to personally reply to all of them today, and if i run out of time i'll print them out and reply next week. don't kid yourselves-i live for your weekly emails, honestly they keep me going through the week.
and yeah, i'll try to write something for lane and zach in my next email, i don't know what i would write yet, but i'll think about it.
do you have the conference issue of the liahona yet? we don't get it for a few months, so i've been printing off the talks from lds org. they are so good! i recommend reading them, so good.
thanks for the updates about grandma's, they have been in my prayers and will be. send them my love and gratitude.
anyways, love you all. i really do. once in a while i remember home and it hurts. so i try not to think about it too much, ha ha. our family is so awesome! oh man i love it. and i love being a missionary, speaking russian, making people's lives better, serving God. i know it is the work of God here.
Love, elder brimley