Derek opens his mission call

Monday, January 24, 2011

Derek travels to Kiev

Hello everybody

So Kiev was the greatest thing ever ever ever. it is such an awesome, beautiful city. so Monday night after p-day we went and got on our train. we were supposed to get our own room, but the guy that bought our tickets apparently forgot, so we were in a four-bed room. it was pretty squishy, and this big old fat guy and his girlfriend were in the room with us the whole night, which was a bit awkward. it was a really long train ride (like 12 hours) and i didn't sleep very well. it got really, really stuffy as for some reason we had a heater in our compartment. so it was a long night. but i woke up and went to the bathroom at like midnight, and looked out the window right as the train was crossing the Dneper river, which was actually pretty cool. it was a sight to see, then i got to see a bit of Dnepropetrovsk.

i can't believe this was only a few days ago. it feels like this was like several months ago for some reason. anyways, so we get to Kiev, go to the embassy, and i order a new passport, everything is cool there, it is being sent to Donetsk in a week or so. after that we planned on going to the temple, as there is a morning session. but when we called the Kiev mission office, they said it was closed for cleaning. so that was a bummer obviously, but we went over and saw it, took some pictures. it is an awesome building. right next to it is the mission office, so it was cool to see that too. my companion saw some old mtc buddies.

after that we went to tgifridays, random i know. it is like one of the only American restaurants: McDonald, dominoes, and tgifridays. it was really good, and very cheap. there were some Australians there that we talked to a little, and then some elderly Americans. Kiev has tourists, it is crazy. after that we just wanted to see the sights, so we went to the main center of Kiev, and that is pretty much where all the cool stuff is. there is this huge tower thing, all these old statues and monuments and buildings. there are also some really famous, also really old orthodox temples that we went into. it was weird inside. but interesting. Man, Kiev has such beautiful architecture. it just makes you happy looking at it. at night, it is still apparently Christmas time, so they put on Christmas lights all over the place, it was the most beautiful thing I've seen in Ukraine. that night was great, I was in shock how many people were smiling. I really felt like i was in Rome or something, it was incredible. i promise i took lots of pictures, this internet club doesn't let me send them, though. one of these p-days I'll send a bunch of pictures.

The train ride back was pretty much the same, didn't sleep much, so Wednesday we were really tired. Wednesday is also 'kreshenia', which just means 'baptism', but it is the day to celebrate when Christianity came to Russia. basically what happened was the king of Kiev, which used to be the center of Russia, decided his people were going to have a religion. and after some study, he decided Christianity was the religion for him. so in January, he had his army break up the ice, and at gunpoint, every person in Ukraine was baptized into the orthodox church. a lot of people died, yeah. but to celebrate, everyone goes and does the same thing on Jan. 19, they cut open a cross-shaped hole in the ice of some lake, and jump in. we were thinking about doing it, but had stuff to do.

The week has gone pretty slowly ever since. a lot of people couldn't meet this week, so we didn't have that many lessons. though we did meet with this one guy on Thursday named Victor. He is really smart, and knows English really well. He is a cool guy, says he really wants to know about our beliefs. But when we offered him a Book of Mormon he refused. and when we invited him to church he said no. So we asked him how he expects to find out about our church without reading our scripture, and he said he just wants to ask us questions and we will answer them. so he is a difficult investigator, but hopefully with time, he will cool down. oh yeah, one of his questions was: did Mormons take part in ww2? and we said, yes. and he said, I would refuse. so I've got a feeling he has a lot of annoying questions like that.

Friday nothing really worked out, we tried to have a few lessons, but they all fell through. on Saturday we had a few, though. unfortunately all of our investigators have hit this weird point where they have either stopped progressing, or slowed down really bad. like volodia, he has been trying to quit smoking, and had a lot of progress, but now he is just smoking like a few a day, and has been at that point for like a month. and Jamal, he isn't really going anywhere at all, he just questions everything, and rejects everything we say. but he comes to church, so whatever. we are trying to help them all progress, but it is, of course, up to them. hopefully they just need time.

last night we met with one of the coolest member families in Ukraine. the district president, who one day will be a general authority, i am quite positive, and his wife and kids, four young boys, named the Tikamerovs. they live in this huge house, fed us a delicious meal, and are just awesome. we had a good time, a really good night.

I've been really tired this week, i think just after effects of Kiev, and all of this cold and darkness. winter here is bad, everyone gets really trunky and depressed. don't worry I'm fine. I'm just dead tired.

As for a quote for this ward bulletin....I'll have to think. one thing I've really come to understand better on my mission is what love really is. i see it everywhere on my mission, between companions, from leaders, to investigators. and i also see the awful effects of the lack of love. the quality of one's life is largely determined by how loved one feels. i remember talking to one lady who said that after her husband died, she has no reason to live anymore. even missionaries (especially missionaries) who don't feel that they are loved won't be good missionaries. that is why getting letters and emails is so important, it gets us through the week. I've come to realize how important expressing and showing our love for one another. it really is the reason for life.

Congratulations Scott for having a court of honor, though I'm disappointed that you have decided against the classic 'face in the cake'. Would have been a great tradition to carry on. keep up the health stuff, mom and dad, that's really great. i think I'm going to start running once it becomes warm enough. a little fat to keep out the cold has been nice though.

Well I've gotta go, so I'll talk to y'all later. Love you bunches. Gospel is true still.

Love, Elder Brimley

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