hey fam, thanks for the letters as usual.
a couple good things happened. we met an interesting guy from the area book, Alexander. he likes our "information". he has been an investigator for years, he has the doctrine and covenants, not too promising or anything. i have found that there is usually a reason missionaries drop people. always good to check, or course, but i haven't seen too much success yet. I'm not surprised. transfers are next Friday. not this one but the next.
though i myself have been spending my time wisely. i have made quite a few awesome lesson plans. i like them a lot, I'm tired of useless lessons with members. just reading one scripture and talking about it then praying. i have been working on using my personal study time to make lesson plans focused on people in the branch we visit often, it is a good study focuser. i have all these ideas, and now they are on paper and i can actually teach something worthwhile. i have also started organizing good, useful scriptures into categories so i can find them and use them easier. I've found some really good stuff, and just getting things organized and in order is cool. my mission has really turned me into this machine. i have so many lists laying around everywhere of things to do, of goals I've made, things to do to achieve my goals. i have completed a lot of those goals i make.
i finished memorizing d and c 4 in Russian, which was much easier than i expected. i am more than half way through one of my grammar books (penguin), it is simple, but very comprehensive. I've learned all the words from it up to the point i am. the eyes of my understanding are constantly being opened. language is fun. I've gotten to a point where i have learned enough words, that the words i am now learning are easier to get down. like, my subconscious must recognize the meaning because I've heard all these words before, just haven't understood them. and i don't know how to describe it, but like sometimes i look at a new word I'm learning and the meaning just makes sense, clicks really fast. i just know a lot of roots and prefixes and suffixes and what not, so the meaning of words just sometimes...yeah, clicks. i have about 550 flashcards, most of them with more than one word on them, so i figure, combined with the words i know from the mtc, and from other situations than flashcards, i probably know around 2000 words.
i can read the book of Mormon in Russian surprisingly well. i started legitimately trying this week, and boom, it is understandable. I'm almost done with first nephi, just reading through, not really trying to pick out words, just reading as if i understood. i think it will help, maybe I'll learn words "from context"- at least that is what they say. i have had several dreams recently that, while i might be mistaken, had at least some Russian in them. i think my subconscious knows the language pretty OK by now. i don't think it is just garbage noise, i have tried paying attention and it seems like it is legit Russian. also, i had a phone conversation all by myself the other day. it was with a member, very simple, and Tanya speaks really fast, and i didn't completely understand, but i was very proud afterward. here is the conversation if i can remember: 'allo?' 'privyet.' 'how are you?' 'good, and you?' 'good. have you been reading the book of Mormon?' 'no, I've been busy. and i can't come to church tomorrow. i might have time later this week to read, and maybe next week I'll come to church.' 'it is a shame.' 'well just wanted to say goodnight.' 'OK. goodnight.' cool, huh?!
we had a good zone conference this week. lots of great ideas and stuff to think about. sister fry gave a cool presentation about our identities, that probably sounds lame but it was legit. president fry spoke a lot too, obviously that was great. oh man there was a testimony section at the end, mostly for the missionaries who are leaving to give their last testimony. i felt the spirit stronger than i have in a long, long time. and it wasn't from anything anyone said, it is a completely uncontrollable, indescribable feeling of the spirit. every time i feel it i realize that i want to feel that more. i want to be able to bring that into lessons, because if i could get people to feel that spirit i felt there, that is all it would take. oh gosh it was strong. we have a lot of really legit missionaries here. a lot of champs i hope i get to serve with one day.
I've never really longed for home until this week. it happens when there is nothing else good to focus on. i try and focus on the language, on lessons we are going to have, on studying scriptures, pmg, Jesus the Christ, but i cant do that all day. five months tomorrow.
anyways, i have decided to redouble my efforts next transfer. work is how i get out of slumps. here are some of my goals for the next transfer: finish reading penguin and know every word in it. memorize something from pmg, scriptures, my TALL book, each week. know every word in the "other" section in my TALL book. memorize a poem from my sila book. finish the book of Mormon in Russian. and understand when people talk to me. i think it should be a busy transfer. OH plus be a missionary once in a while, that is a goal.
oh before i forget, my greetings to zach and lane. to lane: (Zach and Lane's moms asked Derek to write something to them for a Christmas package.)
Dear lane, merry Christmas. this is a Christmas package right? anyways, i hope you are having a fabulous time in Chile. i bet by now you can speak Spanish! congratulations. I'm sure you have been working your tail off over there, i'm proud of you. i wish i heard more from you somehow, i want to know what you are up to. send me a letter or something sometime. remember when we worked at that golf course for a summer, and every day we would watch all those day time judge shows at your house and eat quesadillos? those were good times. do you eat quesadillos down there? did i spell quesadillos right? well i hope all is well. things are well with me. i know our work is the work of God. i know Joseph smith saw God and Jesus Christ. I'll see you in a couple years. love, elder Brimley
Dear zach, just so you know i print your letters out every week so i can read them on p-days. i love hearing what you are up to. sounds like an awesome country. oh merry Christmas! my zone leader had to spend a week or so in your mission because he got bit by a dog here. have you heard of that? well he got a lot of good ideas from your mission, it sounds like. is it true that you do "power statements" to contact? and do you use a calendar? with investigators. we have implemented a few of them to great success. i was thinking about our movies the other day, man, they were sweet. I'm excited to make movies when we get back, we can have Russian, Spanish, and German in them! maybe a little bit of Ukrainian as well. and English. anyways, i have a testimony of the church, the book of Mormon and Joseph smith. i know that the priesthood is real, that the power of god is real, and it is on the earth today. i know that we are messengers of truth. have a good mission, moy droog. love, elder brimley
(end friend letters)
i gotta go. i know the holy ghost is real, and we become converted through its witnessing power. i have felt it very strongly a few times on my mission already, and i know it is not some made up emotion or feeling, but a real, legitimate power.
y'all have a good week.
love, elder Brimley.