Derek opens his mission call

Monday, May 30, 2011

Derek has a great week


Just a fantastic week. One of my favorites on the mission. So, there is a number we count, at least in my mission, called 'other lessons.' Basically it means, every time on the street you teach somebody a principle. the mission standard per week is 15. me and my comp decided, well, we have no real investigators, and not too many contacts, so we better go find them. we made a goal to get about 10 other lessons a day, so 70 in one week. this would about double both of our best weeks. but, we have good contacting in our area, we are both capable, hard working missionaries, we figured we'd give it a shot.

Monday we didn't really have p-day, so we contacted a lot. which was good- we got 10 other lessons, some good contacts. Tuesday we only had 2 lessons, so we got 16 other lessons, and a few more contacts. Wednesday we had literally zero lessons. we got 30 other lessons. 9 contacts. so yeah. by the end of the week, we had taught 71 other lessons, and received 26 contacts. which is a very, very good week. it was pretty cool, we both were really amazed at how much success we got. we are both kind of curious what we have been doing our whole missions. it was a good experience- we went out every day with a goal in mind, and kept a good attitude, and didn't take it too seriously, but worked long and hard. and it pays off. it was cool to see.

So I also accumulated some stats for the week, as far as contacting goes. So, here are some interesting results: an hour of contacting will get you about 3 other lessons. and out of those three lessons, one will give you contact information. i have been surprised at how good these stats are. we have been able to set much more realistic goals too. and hopefully make some improvement. but i thought it was interesting. we will see how many investigators come from contacts- maybe the 1/3 percentage will stay? that would be about 9 new investigators. that would be a dream.

So our lesson on Tuesday was with the Rusinovs, the family whose kids aren't baptized, because of the father. we had a lesson about strengthening our families by having family home evenings, and we said that we would help them by coming over on Monday nights, instead of Tuesdays. they said cool, so tonight we are going over and teaching the lesson. and bringing some brownies. hopefully they will at least see our good intentions, and that will help. the problem is, the parents never know when they are going to work, until the day of. so hopefully they are there. i really just want to talk to the father.

Thursday was a good day too. our district made up p-day, because we were forced to miss most of it on Monday. so we had a good district meeting, and then we played some basketball at the church. it was a party, just hanging out for a good 4 hours. then we went and ate dinner at this delicious pizza place. it was a good time.
Friday we had three lessons, first with Anatolie. we found him at this park doing 'exercises'. he is so old, but he swings his arms around, and calls it exercising. it was pretty fun to watch. he is just amazing. such a funny guy. he always closes prayers in the name of Jesus, and the holy ghost. then we met with Alexander, the way fun crazy guy. he just got fired from work, so he was less fun, but it was still a good time. after that i started a split with elder shoen my zone leader. we had a way fun lesson with this family, a girl and her mom. the girl recently served a mission in Dnepropetrovsk, and they are both just way nice and fun. they complimented my Russian, and then said that i was a really fun missionary. so that was a good ego boost. that night, as is required on splits, my and shoen played risk until 12:30 and then talked for a while. don't worry, we got up on time.

Saturday was too bad, our lessons cancelled, so me and shoen just contacted around while looking for former investigators. we found one, who actually let us in! but as is usually the case, there is a reason he was dropped. he was kind of crazy. well, quite crazy. though he came to church the next day. but he was really weird.

Then for dinner we were making some tacos, and the meat smelled really bad. it smelled quite rotten, a bit like manure. we figured we would try to cook out the smell, but it didn't really work. they tasted pretty weird too. just kidding, we threw it away and got some chicken from the store. it was such a bad smell. oh! i had my first kvas, this drink that Ukrainians love. it was actually not bad. i got the best kind, from a company. i think it can be really bad, but the stuff i had was very...drinkable.

Then we ended the split and went home. Sunday was pretty normal. i had to translate for a senior couple for the second hour, but it was pretty fun. it is really hard, you miss a lot, and the lady talked really fast. but it was pretty simple, so not too bad. it kept me awake, at least. then we had our normal appointments, we focused on sharing the gospel with others. hopefully we can get some referrals one day.

When we got home we made a chocolate peanut butter smoothie with Oreo chunks! yeah, we have a blender. its legit. it was so dang tasty i cant even describe it. but anyways, this was a great week. one of those weeks where you look back, and can be pretty sure that you couldn't have done much better. it is obviously exactly what the area needs right now. so this week we are going to keep focusing on finding people to teach, and try to start teaching some of the people we have found. I'm glad to be here at this time, hopefully i will be able to see some of the fruits by the end of my stay. hopefully i stay for a couple more transfers. i love life! blue skies, warm air, these white fuzzy things are floating around everywhere. it is like summer snow almost. it is hard to breath in without getting them in your mouth, actually. kind of annoying. but better than real snow.

questions: we are trying to exercise, but it doesn't always happen. the goal is to run every other day (there is a very bad track near our house) but it doesn't often happen. i don't know my weight, but i think I'm getting fat. I don't speak or teach lessons in church, our branch is pretty strong. well it is now. it recently combined with another branch, so together, they are a strong branch. My comp and I are still doing awesome. working our tails off, and having a lot of fun. it's a great transfer.

well i love you all! thanks for all the letters and everything! i hope you are loving life as much as i am! i hope my emails prove enough that i know the church is true. doesn't me being on a mission prove that? oh well i guess i have to say it out loud as well. read your scriptures kids!

love elder Brimley

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pray for the Republican Party

Dear family and friends,

it was an AWESOME week! i am still loving life right now, my companion and my area are doing great. and i have a bunch of new stuff! sorry, i spent a bit of money, but it was important stuff, i promise. on tuesday i went to BARBASHOVA for the first time, which is a very famous, extremely large rinok, market. it is just enormous, and everything is so cheap, especially ties, which are about 2-3 dollars. and they are beautiful ties. i'll send some pictures. so we had to go on tuesday because monday is ukraine's day off. i got about 10 new ties, a new, small bag, and a little bible. i've already used them all a lot, so they were very worthwhile purchases. beautiful, beautiful ties. later on tuesday we had a lesson with a member family, the roosinovs, who have 2 kids of age that aren't baptized, because their father won't give us permission, even though he knows it is true as well. it is so sad, the kids want to get baptized so bad, but we just can't. so hopefully we can fix that soon.

on Wednesday we had a cool lesson with a less active lady, we talked about coming to church, and the blessings, and by the end she told us that she is going to start coming regularly. and she came to district conference! so that was cool to see. and i got to use my new, fancy little bible during the lesson, so it was fantastic. then the next day we had a good district meeting, we learned from each other a lot of cool slang. and were spiritually uplifted. afterwards we met with this awesome guy named alexander. he is old and fairly crazy, but way nice. during the opening prayer, he thanked God for the united states of America, and especially for the great, foundational city of salt lake. then he thanked God for the republican party. after, he said, sorry, i got a bit political at the end there. we said it was fine. that’s ok, right? he was just a fun, happy, energetic old man. i'm excited for the next couple transfers with him.

we met with our one real investigator on friday, and we don't really know what to do with her. she loves to talk, seems very skeptical, we think she lied about reading the book of mormon, but she almost came to district conference, so we are going to give her a few more tries. that day we had yet another less active lesson, this one though with this cool dude who went on a mission to russia. we just had a good lesson, he said he knows he needs to go to church, but it is boring, and the women speakers aren't ever any good. he is a good guy, has a very good testimony, but apparently goes in waves of activity and inactivity. he came to conference, and came up to me and said, look! i came! i told him good job. so that was cool seeing a couple less actives start coming back to church this week, hopefully they keep coming. that night we made tacos! mmmmmm

saturday was frustrating, we tried to have a lesson, but transport is awful, and we had a wrong address, so all that we did was waste a bunch of time for a few hours. we cheered ourselves up by eating some kalinichies, (that tasty store) and then going to see a cool holocaust monument in our area, and then contacting for a while. well, for the rest of the night.

sunday was good, had a good district conference, then four member lessons. we have a good sunday routine, much better than just contacting. one new member (a 12 year old black kid), then a less active old dude, then a really old lady we bring the sacrament to, and then a less active, really emotional lady. all of them in need of support.

and that brings us to today. as for answers to questions: my comp is three transfers older than i am. he has been in this area for two already, so this is his third here. i don't know what people here do to work. there are no coal mines... and the tractor factory in my area is closed. i'm going to ask people that now. keep sending packages and letters to the same place.

man, it is getting fetching hot here. we are sweating pretty much constantly. it should help my figure, i suppose. it is better than winter, easily. though i hear it is going to get much worse pretty soon.

thanks for everything! glad to hear from all of you! i'm loving life, loving the work, loving the people! and it is going way too fast! love you guys!

love, elder brimlitchka

Friday, May 20, 2011

Derek Gets Transferred

Dear family and friends,

life is just wonderful. i got transferred to xtz, which is pronounced 'huh tuh zuh', which stands for xharkov tractor factory. i finally made it to kharkov! it is so wonderful. the air doesn't smell like coal, the buildings aren't all domes. there are people on the streets! the weather has been perfect, not too hot, not too cold, just like goldilocks. my area is known throughout the mission as the ghetto, but honestly it isn't bad. we have a couple of beautiful parks, lots of trees, i really love the area. my companion is older than me. he is an awesome kid, we have a lot in common. my third companion from texas! the apartment is also known as one of the worst in the mission, but i really like it. it has a lot of character, and all the basics are fine.

kharkov, man that’s hard to type in english, is such a great place. there is this pastry shop everywhere, called kalininchy, it is like starbucks in america. only in kharkov, and so tasty. it is just a great atmosphere, much more pleasant. my district is legit, i have zone leaders and another couple of missionaries. we are having a good time, today we are going to the zoo! i feel like a 6 year old, but it should be a good time.

the branch is... interesting. my branch recently combined with another, so two pretty weak branches became one fairly strong branch, which is a good change. my area has lots of less actives, and crazy members, and then one really legit family i met with my first day here. they are so cool.

anyways, the week: i don't think i mentioned last monday we did shishkabobs with the bontsovs to celebrate victory day. it was a good ol time. they make some dang delicious shishkabobs here. the next few days we did goodbye lessons with most of the members, an met with our investigators, but nothing too different. it was a good week. obviously, transfer day was the highlight. like i said, transferred to kharkov with elder haizen. its like a five hour bus ride, which was a blast, we had several legit guys, it was a party.

then we get to kharkov and taxi it to xtz, which is kind of the very edge of kharkov. by then it was like almost 9, so we just got to know each other, i got settled. the next day we had a full day of contacting, with a lesson with this funny old man who does what he calls 'pop art', which is just cutting a bunch of pieces of material into shapes, and arranging it in patterns. it is good he has a hobby, he is like 70 years old.

that night we met with the koolievs, which is that legit family. we gave the dad a blessing, he was feeling sick. we had a bunch of pancakes, a quick lesson, then went home. they are a way strong family. its good to see that here.

church was pretty uneventful. it is a good branch, it has lots of problems, but it is good. after we met with a 12 year old recent convert black kid named ali. he is a great kid. then we took the sacrament to this lady, like 92 years old, i don't' know how she is still alive, honestly. she is going sometime soon. but she really appreciates us coming by. then another lesson with a crazy lady who... is too emotional for her age. she is like 50 probably, and she told us she will come back to church when she 'figures some stuff out'.

so that was the week, i'm very excited about this transfer, it should be a party, and we will get some good work done. kharkov is so great. thanks for your prayers to send me up here guys! now lets just pray i stay here for a while.

thanks for all the letters! love you all!

love, derek

Monday, May 9, 2011

It was a burrito, or something

oh man, it was good to talk to you guys. and whats with all this 'i hope it wasn't too long' business? what does that even mean? do you know how much worse i would be homesick were i not allowed a full phone call? man it was great to hear your voices.

so this was an...OK week. not quite as miraculous as the last one, i must admit. but it was good. we had a couple of lessons with the gypsies, but they are pretty flaky.

Monday night we had a meeting with most of them, did most of the third lesson, taught about faith and repentance. but vladik wasn't there, unfortunately. we set up with them again for the next day, they all said it would work, vladik said he would be there. when we got there Tuesday night, none of them were there, except this dude, who we think is vladik's dad. he has never really talked to us, but this time he was drunk so he just started fighting us about the book of Mormon. he made the argument that, Mormon isn't in the bible. we said, well yeah, we never said he was. to this he replied, Mormon isn't in the bible. after arguing for a while with a drunk Russian gypsy, we were about to leave, but then one of the girls that usually listens to lessons came in and wanted to talk. basically she told us her whole life story, which was a sad one, and we tried to help.

then we met with volodia, who is doing awesome. we had a good little lesson, he is still working on quitting smoking obviously. we were about to leave, and he said, every time you guys walk in the door, the spirit comes in too. and it just makes me want to pray. that was nice to hear. as we were exiting the building, this dude was standing in front of the door, really drunk. i was like, what do you want? and he pointed at the ground, there was some package, it looked like a burrito or something. he was like, you and your american friends did this. i said, no, we didn't. he kind of grabbed me, but he was drunk, so i just threw him off and we walked out.

Wednesday was a full day of contacting and tracting, which was cool, because for the first time on my mission, someone said, please, come in. it was this old babushka, and we had a quick lesson about the plan of salvation with her. it was short and sweet, but way cool as, as i already said, somebody let us in. tracting.
the next day we had a few lessons. the first, with Alexander. his mom is pretty much dying, so we gave her a blessing. giving blessings is hard. then we had my last lesson with pavel, a goodbye lesson, as he is in the creme for the week. it was good, but nothing too new. he is a good kid, I'm glad we became friends. afterwhich, brat bontsov came on a less active lesson with us to Andrea's. it was awesome, because they just chatted about old times, then we taught a little lesson. but Andrea came to church! for the first time in years. that was a real lesson to me: members are awesome.

Friday we had all our lessons drop on us, as it was raining. people are so controlled by the weather. and i received a TRANSFER CALL. they did them at night for some reason, so we expected them all day. and then, apparently the ap forgot to call my name, so we got a call even an hour after everybody else. but it came, I'm out. its been good, but I'm ready to be out of Donetsk. lets everybody pray i go to Kharkov, or lugansk!

ha, so Saturday we had a lesson with this one dude, and his mom came in at one point. she was crazy. I'm pretty sure she thinks she can talk to the dead, and has super powers. she said: you are supposed to feel a warm, calm feeling around me. we said, we feel normal. she started muttering under her breath something (either a blessing or a curse, I'm not sure). she had a string with a small pine cone attached, and started swinging it around, first towards my companion, then to me. i don't know how, but i kept from laughing. she rambled on about mother earth and other weird garbage. but it was funny at least. right after that was when you called and did your pre-call. haha.

unfortunately, no one came to church. volodia would have, but he got sick. so afterwards we went over and gave him a blessing. i made noren give it. it's good for him. then we ran home and noren got his call from home.

that's pretty much it. it has been rainy, but it is better today. nice and warm. we are having a shishkabob party with our district and the bontsovs in a few hours, I'm super excited. happy victory day, everybody!

happy mothers day yesterday, to all the mothers reading this.

oh and happy birthday Nicole on Tuesday! I'm proud you made it this far. good luck with life and all that. hope you like my present, if i remember right, it should be good.

once again, pray for my transfer. i could get owned.

thanks everybody! i love you guys. have an awesome week.

love, Derek

Monday, May 2, 2011

Miracles and Meat Jello

Dear family and friends,

OK so if we are going to do it on Saturday, just to remind you, call around 12:00 noon your time. and if you want to do one of those pre calls, just do it at like 10:00 your time, so it will be like 7:00 here. that would be just perfect. I'm SO EXCITED to talk to you.

so did i tell you about that one thing, about how president told our district that if we all got the standards of excellence, he would take us to this giant monument in his car? well so this week was the week when we tried to do that. just so you know, this means 20 quality lessons, 2 people at church, 2 progressing investigators, 2 new investigators, 1 referral, 7 contacts received, and 2 investigator lessons with an investigator. lets just say, it doesn't happen often. i don't think I've ever heard of a district all doing it together. so it was a good goal.

anyways, its been a long week. Monday we had a lesson with the tikomerovs, which is the best time ever, as usual. i even got fed xolodyets, which turns out to be exactly what i had heard: meat jello. and very nasty. luckily they understood, so i only tried a bit, just to say i did. hopefully i don't ever have to do that again. oh man, i should have taken a picture. Tuesday we had four lessons, one with pavel. he is doing OK. this lesson we just talked about what he was thinking about the message, and he just talked different philosophies like usual. didn't seem at all interested in actually accepting, or applying anything into real life, just interested in knowing more about different ideas, i guess. but he is still really nice, and reading the book of Mormon. he just said that it isn't important if it is true, he just likes the ideas.

Wednesday we had four lessons, it was an interesting day. we met with this crazy less active guy named Andrea, he knows it's all true, but unwilling to change anything or come back to church. he is pretty crazy, and drinks and smokes a lot. we will come back to him in a few days. then we had an awesome lesson with the gypsies. pretty much, all of them were there, so about six people, all of them couples, which means families, and we taught them the plan of salvation. we asked at one point, what do you think is the point of life? and all of them answered, i have no idea! i want to know! so we told them, of course. after teaching, we asked if they thought it was true, and they all said, of course! which was good to hear. after that lesson we started a fast, our zone did a special fast this week. yeah, twice in one week. I've had a headache this whole week. but it seems like it helped.

so then we had a member lesson, and then another lesson with pavel, and we brought the branch president with us on the lesson. it was a really good lesson. we clarified our expectations, and it was just really nice to have a way to get through the language barrier. pretty much, it ended up that we explained to him that he has the option to reject or accept our message. he is going to another city for a week, so we told him to think about it. but it was better than that sounds. president was awesome, bore a great testimony of the blessings the gospel had brought him, even though he wasn't a bad person before. after which we went home and fell asleep.

then Thursday was pretty boring. well, Alexander is awesome, his mom is pretty much going to die. i said hi, how are you, and she said 'I'm getting ready to die'. she is just sitting on the couch waiting. it was kind of depressing. and then a lesson with this lady who kind of accidentally got baptized by some over-zealous missionaries like 10 years ago. she is very happy with the orthodox church here. then another member lesson.

so the total number of lessons is now 12. on Friday a couple lessons cancelled, so we only got two, one with the landlady, which was kind of pointless, as we dropped them last transfer. but they fed us. then we saw a miracle: usually it takes about an 40 minutes from our house to sister Nelli's, our next appointment. well so we were even farther than usual, and we only had about 25 minutes to get there. so we hurry and leave, and walk fast. and by the goodness of god, we arrived right on time! honest- it was Jesus feeding the 5000 with two loaves or whatever.

the next day was interesting. at first we had an awesome lesson with one of my favorite members, Lilya, and she showed us pictures of her when she was a young ballerina. she is the sweetest woman, ax she's just great. then we had a lesson with this dude, a bit drunk, and we kind of had to force it, but eventually we taught the first lesson, committed him to read the book of Mormon, and pray twice. it was outside of his house standing up, and he was extremely unreceptive, but it was a LESSON. after that another new investigator, a really smart, fast talking guy, he is reading the book of Mormon, but has some weird ideas about talking to spirits, and energy, and whatever. he told me it was very important to not lace my fingers when i pray, because that is me creating a cage, out of which energy can't escape. i said, that isn't important, and he said, IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. so he is a bit intense, but pretty cool.

after we had a lesson with volodia, who is the dude trying to quit smoking. well, he told us he had gotten drunk again. come on, man. we brought him an overcoming addictions pamphlet, and committed him to live by it. and to come to church, which he said, absolutely. and then he didn't. come on, man, i say again.

so Sunday we were expecting the gypsies to come, volodia, and a couple other people we hoped might come. and none of those people came! we were pretty bummed, because we had everything else we had, we were at 18 quality lessons, and had three set up for Sunday. another miracle: twenty minutes before elders quorum ended, this random contact walked in the door. it was beyond a miracle. right after church we had a quick first lesson with him, as all three of our lessons fell through. after church, we only needed one more lesson to finish it up, and no one we hadn't already met could meet. so, we start knocking on doors, i mean, what else can we do, right? maybe another miracle. well, we got it- this dude, 25 years old, agrees to have a short meeting with us on the spot. we went outside, found some benches, and had a first lesson. that was a first, i mean, that just doesn't happen. there is no other explanation to that other than the hand of god. and it wasn't some lesson just for stats, he is actually interested in the message, the book of Mormon, and coming to church.

so we call our district, and we celebrate: we all got it. it was the most miraculous week of my mission. we saw so much success. we celebrated and made a cake, don't worry. the one problem is, i honestly don't know if it was worth it. we skipped our dinner hour pretty much every day, didn't do much of language study, and were just dead tired with headaches like the whole week. I'm not against hard work, of course. but there is a balance, even on a mission. I'm really glad we did it, but it definitely can't be done every week. we decided that maybe once a transfer it is a good idea.

it was a really cool monument, way beautiful, such a fun time with the district. and then president took us out to the fanciest restaurant ever, and told us to order whatever we wanted. it wasn't Ukraine. it was insane, the bathrooms were so beautiful. and the shrimp were delicious. and the dessert thing was even better. man, that was good.

congratulations Ryan!!!!! i bet we will be in the same time zone! Zimbabwe, that is awesome. when does he report to the mtc? that is great to hear. the mission is a blast, man. somebody tell him to write me an email, i don't know his address or whatever.

i am so excited to talk to you on Saturday.
sounds like you all had a good week. awesome. happy to hear.

I love you guys! only the ones who read these. to the rest of you, fig to you!

OK i am rambling. have a good week, talk to you soon.

love, Derek