hello to all.
the packages are here!!!!! i haven't picked them up from the office yet (right after internet i will) but they somehow made it to Ukraine!!!!! spacibo bolshoye. i really appreciate it. I'm very excited for them.
snow!!!!!!!! it snowed last week!! finally. though then it warmed up a little bit, just enough to melt all the snow, and everything was just complete mud. mud, ice, and giant water puddles everywhere. it is really cold here, i finally had to buy a beanie, which i LOVE. it is really cold. contacting got a lot harder, and so did tracting to... uh, chastni domes, like little individual houses. so we have been doing lots of dome tracting, that is, giant apartment complex tracting. somehow that has become the most productive use of our time (up from last place last week). we have actually met some cool people, a couple people who somehow already have copies of the book of Mormon, and have read and liked it. and say they are willing to meet with us. that is the first step to a white Christmas!
speaking of Christmas, we are allowed to listen to all Christmas music, not just motab now! the only thing is, i don't have any Christmas CD's. the other thing is, we don't have anything to play Christmas cd's on. don't worry, we will figure something out. i can't go through the Christmas season without Christmas music. we are searching far and wide, it might actually come to buying one, but that is the last resort. is there a sufjan stevens Christmas CD? i might need that for next years Christmas.
we had a really good week. we got every standard of excellence but one, which is two investigators at church. and even then, we had one at church, so I'm happy with the week. we have been doing a lot of good work, lots of meeting with less/ inactives, a couple of them we even got to come to church. lots of figuring the area/ area book/ ward list out, figuring out who is active, who isn't, who is in our area, who moved several years ago, etc. it has given us lots of opportunities to find people who have fallen through the cracks and get to know them. i have met a lot of people in the branch who i didn't know before this week, which is fun. have i told you about their cool tradition of showing pictures to each other to get to know each other? its my favorite, you just say, lets get to know each other, i brought my pictures, and they get all excited and you tell them about your pictures, and family, and home, and america, and they show you theirs (i love pictures of old communist Russia). it is a cool thing they do.
i had one really cool meeting with a really awesome active family, the bogmets. they are a younger couple with one young daughter, yoori served a mission in Moscow or something. but we met with them, ate a bunch of food, drank coffee, just had a good time. afterward i realized that i had been speaking Russian and joking around at the SAME TIME. and the joking around wasn't about how i couldn't speak or understand Russian! it has just been awhile since i have had a fun family night gathering thing where i can do anything but sit there and smile. that was nice. and no, i can't speak Russian yet.
our district is having a good time for the Christmas season. the zone leaders have given us a bunch of little gifts for every day until Christmas, just little stuff like soap, candy, TEA, etc. oh, by the way, oreos are here! suddenly they appeared in like every store. it is a Christmas miracle. also our district has like a daily challenge for each companionship to do something, like preach on a crate, or give flowers to babyshky, or go caroling. it is fun stuff.
oh! we need to figure out a time to talk on Christmas. when works for you? we are nine hours ahead of you, so sometime before noon, or something. unfortunately I'm not going to be able to do skype (though you can). apparently there was this unspoken agreement between everyone, that there was no official rule for or against skype, so a lot of people did it last year. everyone just made sure that nobody actually asked president, because that would shatter the unspoken agreement. my companion is the guy that asked president. so I'm not going to be able to. maybe for mothers day? hopefully. i think that would be awesome. so I'm going to send you like my cell phone number, and some password, and you'll be able to call my phone. and we'll talk for "one" hour.
my companion is a very good cook, and in his words: "I'm a weird person. i really love to cook, and i really love to do the dishes." so I'm staying out of his way. we have been eating well, and I've been studying while that is going on. so it is a good deal for me. i finished Jesus the Christ! did i say that last week?
i think in a lot of missions there is this 'white Christmas' challenge, where you are supposed to try to get an investigator baptized on Christmas (wearing white clothes). do you remember yoolie? he is the guy that read the book of Mormon twice really in depth, and knows it is all true. a week or two ago we challenged him to be baptized on the 25th, and he said no. we said, will you at least prepare to be baptized? he said no. we said, will you try to prepare? he said maybe. so last night he called and said, I've been thinking about the 25th. i want to be baptized. he has a few questions, but we are going to definitely be working with him hard. obviously it is not yet for sure tochna, but yay!
they are having a Christmas party on the 25th, my ward that is, and we are allowed to go if we have an investigator. so i really want to, i haven't gone to a branch function yet other than Sunday meetings. no, they don't decorate too much for Christmas. maxim, the golden contact said to call January, he will have time then. and sometimes i get the emails from other missionaries, but sometimes there is just a blank email. like this week i didn't get zach's or spencers. and don't worry, Ukrainians make very sure i am dressed warm. I'll try and take those pictures and send them. i don't think about those things when I'm just in the day to day routine. I'll get on it.
by the way, i sent a couple of letters, so if you never get them, then just know that i sent them. it's the thought that counts, right?
thanks for everything, hope all is well, have a holly jolly Christmas, watch lots of Christmas movies for me. the church is true, and Christ is the head of it. and this season is an awesome time to be a christian. love you all!
love, elder brimley