Derek opens his mission call

Monday, August 29, 2011

I got bit by a dog

hey yo.

happy p-day. Ukraine is awesome. i love every minute of it i hope it never ends!!!!!!

on to questions: I like Mariupol a lot. I'm enjoying my time here. we don't have enough money, no. our monthly fund is 1200 grivin, which is about enough to buy food and transportation for two weeks. i run out of money every month and use personal funds for groceries. the office asked for more money, and got denied. in Mariupol, we have to buy water, because the sewer lines got mixed with the water ones, so we have to buy water every couple of days. they pay us back for that, but sometimes the office forgets. so sorry if i'm draining your money. it is getting a bit cooler, it stays around 30 degrees, so i'm enjoying it while it lasts. the winter is just around the corner. i haven't gotten very sick since I've been in country, somehow. Me and the comp are getting along well.

We had a fun week. Monday we had family night with sister bigoon, and a couple other members. we had a good discussion, and then played some game, i can't remember. nothing too terribly exciting, but there are some really cool members here.

Tuesday was good, we got to go see the new apartment where the new missionaries are going to live. it is really small, probably the smallest i've seen, but it is nice. and on the first floor, which is very nice. I wouldn't mind living there. after that we had a good lesson with this member family. We had a nice pleasant visit. they gave us some cookies. he started complaining about us never doing service for anybody, so i offered to do service, and we are going to do some this saturday for him. he seemed to appreciate it. we have been trying to get him in line with the whole missionary work thing, because he kind of hinders the work, so i think it was a big step forward. then we had an investigator lesson at the church, it was in english. it was frustrating. they just don't understand the idea of restoration. i have gone through the entire first lesson in detail, as simply but thoroughly as possible, and they just won't understand. we will keep trying. oh! i got bit by a dog that day, too! this random stray. it didn't bite hard enough to break skin, or even my pants, so that was good. but it still bit me. and then ran away barking like crazy. that was interesting.

Wednesday was independence day here! we had a big party at the church to celebrate. a cool patriotic, historical program, some games, a bunch of food. we got an investigator to come a little bit late, so it was good for him. it was a lot of fun, hanging out with members, getting to know them a little bit. that day we also had a lesson with this dude named Alexander, who looks like Lenin. He's got the beard and everything. he is inactive, but still has a strong testimony. he wants to become an active member again. so we will work with him, hopefully help him out. he was a fun, crazy man.

Thursday we didn't do too much. no one could meet at all. that night though, we had a youth night, where we made this yummy salad called vinagret, which has a bunch of nasty ingredients, but ended up way tasty. we had like three investigators there, and everyone had a really good time. well i did, at least. Friday was the same, no one could meet.

Saturday we did service again, making cement for this family. it was fun, that went from 10-2, and then we had sports night from 5-7. an old investigator came to sports night, a cool kid who knows English really well. hopefully we can get him to come to other stuff, and slowly transition him into an investigator. Sunday was minors day, so they told us to stay in our apartment if we didn't have lessons. and our lesson dogged us, so we didn't. we made a delicious cake, though. i am still enjoying it. and we played 2 grueling games of chess, he won the first, and i won the second.

so I'm doing good. i heard about the hurricane, that is good that it wasn't as big as they said. we were imagining new york city being destroyed. but its good that didn't happen. don't worry, I'm happy. i think my emails sound depressed. i just have to write so darn fast, i don't have time to put some personality in 'em. maybe next transfer. anyways, i'll talk to you in a week! thanks for all the letters! love you all!

love, elder Brimley

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dreaming of a Dragon

Hey family and friends! How doest thou? i hope well. I'm doing pretty good. I'm sorry to hear that summer is wrapping up. that's always a depressing time. i miss school. i miss summer too, though. i try my best not to think about America, but it just doesn't work. last night i had this dream, and it was me and the family, and some other random people. and we were waiting for my new mission president to come. and we were all really worried, because he is a DRAGON. so we put outside our house some offerings, food and stuff, i can't really remember. anyways, he eventually comes, and accepted our offerings. when he came inside, he was a human though. and really nice to everyone. cool story, huh?

big news is the baptism this week! it went really well. i can't really claim it as my own, because it is a little girl, who i only met with once, and i didn't really do anything. but I'll count it anyways. lots of members came to support her, it was great. the meeting was really nice, everything just worked out well. I'm so happy for her. and her mom, who was recently an inactive, but since I've been here, she has come every week. they are really happy, and are headed to the temple to be sealed as a family as soon as possible. that was on Friday.

Monday we had a good family night at a members house, and we had 2 investigators there, magically! it was a good time, we had a good gospel discussion, had a bunch of snacks, and then played some good games. our investigators loved it, and, so did i. its weird, my district are all against going to family nights. i explained to them that president fry told us to pick a family night and go to it.

lets see, what else happened... i went on a split with the other elders on Wednesday. after district meeting i went to the other area with elder Taylor. we had a good split, went to this one lady's house on Wednesday night, she was super nice. probably the happiest lady I've met in this country. spoke English pretty well too. probably not going anywhere, but she is a nice lady. elder Taylor bought a sword a little while ago, so we had some watermelon cut by a sword that night. don't worry, I've got a picture I'll send some day. it was pretty legit.

i had a lesson the next day with one of their investigators. he was an interesting man. he is a really big guy, like a bit chubbier, but mostly just an enormous man. but a gentle giant is he. he is so kind. soft and gentle. it was odd, almost. he is a cool guy, really accepting of everything. he was on date for baptism, but he got kind of scared, so they are putting it off for a while. we talked about being diligent, because they have apparently talked about baptism too much for the past month. so we had a nice short spiritual thought, and got to know each other. very good guy.

afterwards we went to the church for a youth night. a bunch of people came, and an old investigator, it was a lot of fun. we made sharma's together, and then ate them. we have a lot of cool youth here.

Friday was the baptism, Saturday we did service, where we made cement for four hours, then came back to an apartment that our landlady had trashed, and left us a note that said, you guys have to clean it up. then we had sports night for 3 hours, which was a huge success. it was legit.

OK my district is all staring me down because they finished their email, so i gotta go. I'm sorry, I'll do better next week at replying!

love you guys! have a great week!

elder Brimley

Monday, August 15, 2011

Broken Finger


Hey, everybody! how are y'all doing? I had a great week. we got dogged a lot. does that make sense? it means a lot of lessons fell through. so that wasn't the great part. it has been extremely hot and humid. that wasn't the great part either. we found a really delicious french bakery with awesome pastries five minutes from our apartment! that made up for all the dropped lessons. me and the comp are doing good, he is a good kid. very focused. the only thing he every wants to talk about is the work, which is a good thing. he's a funny guy. I'd send a picture, but i can't really on this computer, unfortunately. just trust me- he looks like Zac Efron.

so remember when i told you about my finger getting jammed really bad, like a month ago? well after a month, it still hurt, so i figured i should get it checked out. on Tuesday i went to the hospital and got an x-ray. Ukrainian hospitals are sketchy, and it took forever. but eventually i got it taken (it cost 15 grivn, less than 2 dollars, in all). the picture looked normal to me, so i figured i was being a baby, but i gave it to the doctor who took it, glanced at it for a second, and said, "классно! сломался." "cool! its broken." so, I'm doing some crazy Ukrainian treatment now that I'll talk about later. after the hospital we went and had district meeting with the zone leaders, which was cut short because of lessons. i went on a split with elder Winchester, who is a cool kid. we went around and talked to some less actives that he knows (he was born here in mariupol). we also had a park lesson with this couple that speaks English, which went OK. then we all went to mama bigoon's house and had a lesson/ chatted.

the next day the zone leaders just hung out with us, we went and got a famous sharma (like a burrito), the 'super lukes', which is about 3 times the size of a normal sharma, and the best one in the country. delicioso! then we went and showed them the beach. the zone leaders left, and we went to a lesson, which dogged us. then we went to another lesson, which also dogged us. but it was a good day.

so on to that crazy treatment I'm getting: Thursday morning i go back to the hospital, and give them a piece of paper that the doctor gave me, and i couldn't understand at all. this lady tells me that it is free if i live here, but i need to prove that i live here. I'm not yet registered to the area, but she said i can do it, but i need to bring registration soon. they take me into this room, and i was kind of assuming that they were going to break my pinky again, because i don't know what else you can do. i was a bit worried about that, so i ask the nurse, are you going to break my pinky? and she was like, don't worry, don't worry. just relax. i was like, i just don't understand, what are you going to do? and she was like, its going to be WARM. understand? WARM. she thought i was stupid. but it turned out, that was exactly what it was. they put my hand in this weird warm gel stuff for about twenty minutes, and just warmed up my hand. it was nice, i guess. then they take me to another room, and this lady puts a pillow on my lap, then a wet towel, then my hand, and another wet towel, and another pillow. some wires connected to another machine are on both sides of my hand, and she turns on the machine. then she said something i didn't understand, here is the direct translation: do you hear a light warm? i said i didn't understand, and she started yelling, do you HEAR? do you HEAR? слышишь?! and i was just like...yes. so i just sat there for about fifteen minutes, then she said i can leave. i have to do that whole process ten times. the next time i went, when she asked if i can hear a soft warm, i said no, so she turned it up, and i felt some electricity shooting into my hand, and i said yes. so... i don't know if it will do anything, but so far, nothing has changed. its free, so i guess it doesn't matter.

later on Thursday we had a lesson with an investigator and this member was there, and he wasn't very helpful. he interrupted a lot, and went on wild tangents, talked for like an hour straight. that was pretty frustrating. Friday we had a really good lesson though with another investigator, sasha. we talked about the apostasy, and went into it really thoroughly, with the scriptures. it just went really well, i feel like he got it, and this is a point of the message that a lot of people don't get here. he is a cool guy, he is coming to family night tonight, and hopefully he will start coming to church once he makes some friends. that's a good thing about this branch, they are willing to go out of their way and make friends with investigators. there are some very outgoing people here.

Saturday we had SPORTS NIGHT! that was the best thing ever. it was a small beginning, but a lot of people just couldn't come for this one, and said they really want to come to ones later. i think it will get a lot bigger. this one we had about 10 people there, and we played Frisbee. mostly members, but the other set of elders here got an investigator there, and she loved it, made friends with everybody, so it was super effective. we are going to pass out invitations, and try really hard to get lots of less actives, more actives, and investigators there, because it is a great way to get them all together in a low stress environment. it was a lot of fun, and the first time I've played real sports in about 9 months, so it was needed.

at church on Sunday president Campero came. oh yeah, i forgot to mention that i gave a talk. it wasn't too big of a deal, but it was my first here. it is a lot easier to write Russian, so it wasn't too difficult. it was good practice. i talked about missionary work, and how missionaries and members can work together. president Campero gave a legit presentation about the same subject for the second and third hours. all in Russian. he is such a great speaker. He is very inspiring, i love listening to him. great man, all the members love him too. that night we met with this member named Leili, she has breast cancer, but she is a very strong member. a really good testimony. after that we met with our neighbors, who are pretty much just rich nice people who like having us over as guests and chatting. they were cool, it was nice to meet them. they say they have an apartment that is going to be open soon, so we actually might look into moving into it, if it is cheaper.

sorry i don't really have time to answer your questions, my district is all done with their internet time, everyone is waiting on me, so i better go. we are going bowling, should be fun. thanks for all your letters! i promise i read them, even if i don't have time to reply. i love you all! have a great week! talk to you then.

love, Elder Brimley

Monday, August 8, 2011

My companion looks just like Zach Efron

Dear Comrades,

Mariupol's legit. and my companion looks just like Zach Efron. and yes, of course i read your letter mom! tee shto?! yours is always the longest and the most detailed. here are the answers to your questions: my transfer just started today, but it's going to be legit. i'm in the center of mariupol, a small steel factory town on the beach of the azov sea. the beach is wonderful- actually it is pretty bad, but it is good to see nonetheless. my companion is young, with a lot of fire, which is good. the work is going amazingly, we have investigators up the wazoo. we have a little girl on date, and another dude close to baptism, and lots of other investigators with potential. pretty legit. my apartment is really big, not super nice, but my second best apartment so far. i like it a lot. my companion doesn't, but that's because he's never served anywhere else. he'll figure it out. i don't know if the mission president does a blog, probably not, at least not yet. i don't need anything. i am senior companion, and district leader. i have an assigned talk this coming sunday. the branch yesterday had thirty two people there, total, including missionaries. it needs some support. yes, i got the line of authority. that was way legit.

anyways. lets get started. saying goodbye to xtz was so sad. i love those people so much. saying goodbye to brat anatoli was terrible. and then the kluev's was bad too. two transfers wasn't enough. i learned a lot from my time there, from the people. sadder than anything, i didn't get to say goodbye to Alexander, the crazy less active guy. i loved him. Monday i said goodbye to the rusinovs, Tuesday i said my goodbyes to anatoli and the kluev's, Wednesday i said goodbye to Igor. Thursday morning i got on a bus to Donetsk. i better go back to xarkov, that's all I'm saying.

the bus down was cool though- i finally saw the sunflowers, there are a bunch of them. though the road was really bad, and i got car sick. i haven't gotten car sick in forever, it was weird. i got the front seat, it was like the good old days. we got to Donetsk after five hours or so, and had transfer meeting, which is always fun. it was pretty unnecessary, because everyone knew everything, thanks to a source. or at least, i knew everything. everybody got their comps, and then president campero got up to say a word, which was for me, one of the greatest speeches I've ever heard. he said that we are going to be a white handbook mission from now on, nothing more, nothing less. all those extra rules are now gone. we have to use our own judgment from now on. it was a breath of fresh air. needless to say, we are doing service on Wednesday, and sports night on Saturday.

then we headed down south. we got back in time to see this member open up his mission call- he is a cool kid, a relatively new member, and he is going to samara, Russia in November. he was way excited. then i got unpacked. the next day was pretty normal, we had planning and my companion told me all about the area, all the investigators and members. we did some contacting, saw the area, saw the beach, then had a small lesson at the church, then got dogged twice. its legit, the church is like a ten minute bus ride away, we do everything there. after all that, this legit member, we call her mama bigoon, took us and a few other youth over to her house and we had some green borsch and got to know each other. it was a fun night.

on Saturday we didn't have too much, but at night it was fun, the whole district went sign boarding. we brought a couple of members, it was a lot of fun. we invited a lot of people to sports night, and had some success. Sunday was awesome though. church was really small, but we have some way legit members who are great missionaries. right after church we had to do a split because some random people showed up, so we had three lessons with members present at the exact same time. that was just crazy. its good, lots of work is going on in this area, we should see some success.

i know that the church is true- it is God's church on the earth, and the only church that is completely true. i know the book of Mormon is what it proclaims to be, and that it brings the reader of it to a knowledge of the truth. I've never had an investigator that actually read the book of Mormon that didn't admit its truthfulness. i know that a prophet lives and guides us, and his teachings are what the lord wants us to hear. i know that prayers are answered. i know that our message is the most important message, because it is true.

i can't believe summer vacation is over. it is friggin hot down here, and way humid. and smelly- the giant steel factory stinks the whole city up. but i still love it.

alright I'm done. love you all! thanks for everything! sorry i don't have much time. have a good week!

love, elder brimley

Monday, August 1, 2011

We had a great week...

HEY EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

we had a great week, a lot of fun times. first things first, i got a transfer call, so i am leaving xarkov on Thursday! i am going down, which means Donetsk, gorlovka, lugansk, and Mariupol. thanks to a legit source who will remain unnamed, we know all of transfers, so i know that i am going all the way down to the sea of mariopol! I'm sad I'm leaving xarkov so quickly, but Mariupol is a great place. my companion is really young, and I've never met him, so we'll see. but I'm pretty pumped, it should be a good place to serve. i guess technically, he might be wrong, but it seems pretty legit.

so Monday night we saw a pretty cool miracle. we met with the rusinovs, the family whose kids aren't baptized because their father won't allow it. we had a lesson, and afterwards, the father came in and said, hey elders, I'll drive you home. and the other people said, we are going to feed them, so just wait. he said, OK. by the way, elders, you are going to start teaching my children the baptismal lessons. i was like, so, you are giving them permission to be baptized? and he was like, yes, and walked out. then we all rejoiced. how great was our joy! we are meeting them tonight again, and hopefully putting them on date. its pretty cool, they should be able to get them baptized this next transfer.

we went and did some service on a dacha, which is like a country cottage, with some other missionaries. it was a total party. i used a chain saw! i felt manly. we chopped a lot of wood, then ate a delicious feast, and had a spiritual thought. it was so great to get out of the city into the great outdoors, and have some physical exercise for once.

went on a split with my zone leader elder shoen from Canada on Wednesday, we had fun. had some lessons, then went home and played risk. he really likes risk, and i completely owned his life. it was crazy how badly i beat him. the next morning we had a really good second lesson with galya, a lady i had a first lesson with on yet another split. it was an awesome lesson, the spirit was really strong. she was in tears by the end, talking about life or whatever. she'll definitely get baptized.

then on Friday i had a split with a kid who thinks he is awesome named Neil. we had a good time, had some lessons or whatever. we had a good conversation until late. for some reason, it is OK to stay up late on splits and talk. I'm not complaining, its fun. Friday i also found out that I'm leaving. i was pretty surprised, it seems random to pull me out of xarkov after only two transfers. but i guess the ap's know what they are doing. I'm super excited for mariupol. on Saturday we went to barabashova, the giant outdoor market, one last time. i might never come back here, which would suck. i bought a few ties, but I'm not collecting souvenirs yet, i don't want to lug them around. that night Thomas and prince, both old companions, came down to xarkov from sumi, so we went to McDonald's with them to say goodbye with several other missionaries. it is always so weird to see dying missionaries for the last time. I'm sure I'll see them both again, but not for a while. they are legends. all the missionaries going home right now are legends, and there are 13 of them. it is a different mission now. its sad to see them all go, my trainer, and several kids i served around.

then Sunday, my last Sunday here, was also elder beck's last day, so we went to the train station to see him off. it was good to serve around him, though he made me pretty trunky. my next district is three elders all in their third transfers, so i will be their combined mission age. it is going to be a little crazy, but fun. Sunday i also said my goodbyes to alizaveta, the 93 year old we bring the sacrament to, and loodmilla, the super emotional lady. and that brings us to now.

its friggin humid here.

so yeah, good enough week. now I'm just going to be saying goodbye to everyone for a few days, and next week I'll write to you from Mariupol!

I love you all ochen mnogo! fsevo nailoochevo!

love, elder Brimley