Derek opens his mission call

Monday, September 26, 2011

Zone conference


How's you all be? I be well. i be real well. we had one of the quickest weeks of my mission this week. very busy. which is, of course, good. my district is legit, we have been having a really good time together. and we are actually seeing good success recently. referrals and stuff, out of nowhere. miraculous!

wow, that was a crazy article about that guy dying! (Mary sent an article about a Ukranian man who died in a food eating contest)-- not exactly the most surprising thing. when it said 'buscuit', it meant 'vereniki,' which is one of the most widely eaten foods. even among missionaries. they are sketchy sometimes, but very cheap and easy to make. and delicious. i like how the grand prize was a carton of sour cream. that is so Ukraine. they eat that stuff plain. poor guy. i wonder if eating too much killed him, or eating vereniki.

i am feeling good, i haven't felt sick since last week. the coal pills worked like a charm. i think it was food poisoning. but I'm good now. my eyes aren't yellow anymore. and my pinkie is better, though i can still tell it was broken. i don't know if it will ever feel completely normal. our trip to Donetsk was legendary.

so here is the week: Monday we had an enjoyable p-day, played some sports with a few members. we had a referral from, crazy. so we went and gave him a book of Mormon, he seemed cool, and pretty interested. i called him a couple days ago and he said he hadn't started yet, but he will. then we played monopoly, which we found at the church. we didn't finish the game, but i was losing anyways. then we had a family night with some youth and one of our investigators, Igor. we talked about general conference. hopefully we will be able to see it.

Tuesday we had district meeting, the zone leaders came down and took it over. after, we had a good meeting with our new branch mission leader, we talked about how we are going to work together better. it was a good step forward. we have never had any correlation. now we do! right after that we had a lesson with Sasha, it was really good. kind of. we talked about baptism, because he doesn't believe it is necessary. so we tried to help him understand, but he still doesn't. but we always have such great meetings, awesome conversations. the spirit is always there, and he knows it. he has admitted to us that he knows the church is true. he is a great guy. after that we and the zone leaders went and met with sister bigoon, whose family was there from America. it was cool to meet with all them.

Wednesday things started to speed up even quicker. we went as a district and did some service for a member on her home about an hour out of the city. we dug up her garden, and then she fed us some... vereniki actually. mmm delicioso. it was fun, and of course always good to do some service to those in need. after that we hurried home, because we had to catch a train. yeah, we took a train to Donetsk. it was a blast, and actually cheaper, so we saved the mission money. we played some card games and chatted on the way up. when we got there me and my companion stayed over at the ap's apartment.

the next two days were zone conference. it is crazy that zone conference is a whole two day experience, but apparently that is how it is supposed to be. it was great to see everybody, old friends i haven't seen in months. i love zone conference, man. i wish we had them every transfer like it used to be. that made it easier. we talked a lot about the atonement and repentance, and a lot of ideas how to do our work better. i learned a lot from everyone, especially from president. that man is legit. just straight up legit. anyways, it was a great couple of days. a lot of fun, and really uplifting.

Saturday was good too, we had another lesson with Sasha, talked about the holy ghost, and why it is so important. less active artyom came on the lesson with us, which is always good. artyom actually gave us a referral the other day, and we have a lesson set up with him now. which is pretty awesome. anyways, Sasha's lesson went well. I'm telling you, every lesson gets more spiritual. he can't deny that he feels the spirit. he just doesn't logically understand baptism, and asks really good questions. i want him to get baptized so bad, man. that was pretty much it for that day.

church on Sunday wasn't too great. not very many people. 34. including 6 missionaries, 2 guests. lots of people were out of town randomly. i ended up having to teach the second hour, which was...interesting. i didn't know what i was doing, and there was only one person in the room that was Russian, so i felt stupid speaking Russian. but oh well. victor, who hasn't come in a long time, came. he is our investigator that we haven't met with in a while, cuz he wasn't progressing. but maybe he will come back now. we came home, and my companion made a legit pizza. man that was good. and that was that.

pretty fun week. the weather has been great. nice and cool, though i fear that soon its going to freeze over. it might be a long winter. yes, the summer was hot and humid, and no, they don't have air conditioners. yeah, the south park episode was about Mormons. it is pretty famous, I'm going to have to watch it when i get home. life is going great, I'm loving the transfer. we are doing good work, we have some good goals to find some new people, and more effectively work. its nice being in a companionship with two old people. i kind of want to stay with older elders the rest of my mission. i wouldn't mind that.

well, thanks for everything. i love you and i know the church is true.

love, elder brimley

Monday, September 19, 2011

10th Transfer

мормонам привет! this old dude yelled that at us the other day, i thought it was pretty funny.

so i forgot my old planner, which is what i always use to remember the week. lets see how much i can remember without it. it just might be a more scatterbrained email than usual. lets start with the questions, shall we? my mission has gotten more expensive, yes. for example, 100 grams of pastry used to cost 1.50 grivin. now, it is up to 4.00 grivin. and public transport used to be all 1.50, and now it's at the least 2.50. its pretty crazy. they are trying to raise our msf, but they've been trying for like a year now.

I live in a city of about half a million people. not too big, but... i mean, that's like a fourth of Utah. i don't know if president does a blog. probably not, maybe they will later. My new companion is legit, he is just one transfer younger than me, and knows Russian well. we are probably about on the same level. he studied Russian for a while in college, too. we are getting along great, I'm really happy. his name is elder scovil- my third companion from Utah.

as for the eggs/ dolls, I'll try to get you some prices, just tell me the specifics and i will order it. for a big egg, its going to be around, i don't know 350 grivin, which is like 40 bucks. pricey, but i mean, its hand made.

anyways, we had a good week. transfer week is always pretty exciting. Monday night we had a family night with mama bigoon, Tuesday night we had family night with the gushins (the branch president). lots of goodbye lessons with everybody, for Elder smith's sake. Wednesday morning i woke up at like 5:30, i felt awful. i was all clogged up, and started vomiting pretty intensely. yeah, i was pretty bad. but it was smiths last day, so after i emptied, we went to the church to have district meeting. i felt really weak and very qweazy, so i went and laid down on this carpeted area. i told the district to do the meeting without me. mama bigoon came in and took good care of me, she went and bought me some water and lemon and some coal pills. she used to be a nurse. yeah, coal pills. i took ten of them. apparently they suck in all the bad stuff and then you clear them out, and you get better faster. i just laid there for a while, i just felt sick for a long time. i tried to do a lesson with sasha later, but he told me to go lay down, because apparently i looked like death. smith had the lesson alone with him, haha. mama bigoon was sure i had hepatitis, because my eyes turned yellow, but i don't. i went home and went to sleep.

woke up, and felt pretty much 100%. apparently i looked like death still, because the other elders came over in the morning, and said i looked...bad. yeah, but i felt good, so i went to the bus stop and saw the two elders leaving mariupol off. then went back home and just kinda sat around, studied and stuff. i felt better, but i didn't really trust myself to do much. later, the four new elders came down, and i got my new companion, scovil. i love my district, its a good group of kids.

Friday we pretty much contacted around the city, showed the comp around mariupol, the sea, all the big places. no one could really meet, because we met with everyone pretty recently for smith to say goodbye. but its OK. Saturday we met with sasha again, with a member present. we had a good lesson- he said he watched that one south park episode, and realized that he doesn't care if our church is true, he knows it is good, makes him happy, gives him peace, he loves the people. he still doesn't want to be baptised, because he doesn't know why it is necessary, but he said he is open to talk about it, so our next lesson is going to be all about baptism, and hopefully we can get him on date. he is such a great guy, i would love to see him get baptized. also, Saturday was mariupol day! which meant there were a whole bunch of drunk people partying. we saw a cool parade going down the main street, and a bunch of interesting stuff. like these knife throwers, who weren't very good. and this ten year old kid with a beer can. and these guys were beepboxing, it was pretty legit. they were talented. i like beepbox.

Sunday like usual, we had a good amount of people come, 43. two extra missionaries, and a family visiting came. after church we brought the sacrament to this lady. and gave her husband, a nonmember, who is very sick, a blessing. it was a good day.

this week is going to be really fun. the zone leaders are coming down for a day or two, we are going to do some service, then we go up to Donetsk for zone conference for two days. busy, but i haven't seen many missionaries in a long time. it is necessary.

anyways, I'm having a really good time, this is going to be a great transfer. we are going to get a lot done, we are going to work hard. good to hear from all of you! love you! the church is true!

have a great week, love

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Who doesn't love a taco?

Hello Americans,

OK, first: there is this legit lady in my ward who is super artistic, and makes hand drawn Russian stuff, like nesting dolls and eggs. if you want, i can order some cool stuff for you guys, just let me know. she said she is on Facebook, and there is a folder called 'my art'. her name is : Nadezhda Vydysh. so look her up, and if you want something, go ahead and let me know. she does pretty much anything you want. it isn't too pricey, either.

as for transfers, no surprises. i am staying, my companion is out. this next transfer should be a pretty exciting one. two more elders are coming down, so there will be six in Mariupol, there will be a zone conference, leadership training, general conference. Halloween, that should be fun too. I don't know who my companion will be, but i don't really care as much anymore. i mean, it matters, but most people are pretty similar, when it comes down to it.

yes, i remembered 9/11. i asked a few members if they knew what it is, and they said, of course, but no one really mentioned it yesterday. i didn't know what to do, really, in remembrance, but i think today I'm going to make some root beer. its pretty American. and no, i don't remember ever getting a card from your family, mom. maybe it will come.

so as for the week, we kind of got owned. we had a total of eight planned lessons, mostly with investigators, fall through on us. but it ended up ok. we had some good fun. Monday night, for family night, we went to one of the two families in the ward. some of the youth came as well. we had a good spiritual thought, a delicious meal, and we brought some brownies. which turned more into a cake, but they don't know the difference. then we hung out, played some games with the youth, it was a good night. i was talking politics/ economics with this guy about how bad the government is in Ukraine. pretty much, i don't know how they survive. its pretty corrupt here.

everything fell through on Tuesday except with a lesson with victor at night, an investigator. he is out of money (though he admitted to us that he had been smoking), and thus had zero food. so he kind of begged us for money. i went and bought him some groceries so that he wouldn't die. i felt good doing it, but...i don't think he is all that interested in anything except for getting money from the church. oh well.

the emptiness of Tuesday was made up for by the business of Wednesday. a good district meeting, then a good lesson with Sasha. we talked about desire, watched elder oaks talk about it, and then had a really good discussion. he is a great guy. progressing slowly, but progressing. then had a pretty bad investigator lesson with this lady who is only interested in English. we brought a member who doesn't understand English, to try and force her into Russian, but she wouldn't budge. she just isn't interested. but she pretends she is sometimes, which makes it hard to drop her. then we went and visited a member, with another member. which is good, because he was doing his home teaching, which he usually can't do, because he can't get his companion to go with him. it was good, her husband (not a member) was there, and took part.

taco Thursday was great. nothing worked out until youth night, but it was awesome. this dude named Igor, an investigator who has refused to meet with us for a while, came. i made taco's for like 15 people, it was actually a lot of fun, and everyone really loved them. who doesn't love a taco? I've gotten pretty good, i have to admit. it was a fun night. Mariupol is such a party.

Friday everything fell through except for a great lesson with Sasha. we met him with a member, mama bigoon, read through third nephi 11, and talked about it. he had some really good questions, which led to a great discussion. mama bigoon helped a lot. he seemed to really enjoy the lesson. he must have, because after 4 months of meeting with us, he finally came to church on Sunday! i was actually surprised. it was a huge step forward for him. hopefully we can get him to start coming regularly, that would be amazing.

Saturday everything fell through until sports night, which was, of course, fun. Igor came to that, and really enjoyed himself. he is a funny guy, pretty outgoing and a bit odd. so everyone likes him, pays attention to him. he enjoys the attention. i think that is a lot of the reason he also came to church. whatever it takes, i guess. after church, two lessons fell through, but then we had two member lessons, which went well. it was good to get to know some more of the branch.

so that was the week. transfers are on Thursday, so next week I'll have my new companion, whoever it is. i just realized that it is almost half-way through September. i have one question- what happened to august? time on a mission, man. quite the melancholy relationship, I'll tell you.

good to hear from you all, I'm glad to hear you like your job, mom. i hope you can start teaching older kids too. you are much too capable. but i guess you have to start somewhere. well everyone, i love you. have a great week!

love, elderek

Monday, September 5, 2011

Derek is a good listener


and to the ward: thanks for the awesome package! totally unexpected. i appreciated the notes and drawings and stuff. it made my day. you guys are awesome!

yes i mailed the tie. hopefully it reaches America. i sent it probably about 2 weeks ago, so any day now you should expect it. no, i don't need more money. the mission is working on getting us more msf, and I've just been using personal to buy groceries once i run out. I'll probably have to buy some more winter clothes, but it will be much cheaper for me to just buy them here, so don't worry about that. some boots, some warmer pants, maybe another sweater or two. as far as what you can do for people in Ukraine... i don't know. they all need new apartments. pictures of Christ is a cool idea. they all have pictures of him, but usually they are the orthodox, icon form of Christ. which is pretty creepy. i will think about it and get back to you.

we had a good week here. kept pretty busy, had quite a few investigator lessons. saw actually some cool success. monday was legit last week. we made shashliki, shiskabobs with this crazy man named rustam, who loves to hang out with missionaries. pretty out of his mind, but he is a lot of fun. out in the woods we had a delicious meal, me and him played some one on one tackle football. that was interesting. it was one of the best p-days of my mission, now that i think about it. oh rustam... i don't know how to describe him.

so we had some phone problems. it wouldn't charge, and to make a long story short, we had to buy a new one. which of course means the cheapest one in the store, about 20 bucks. but it is a lot better than the old one. i feel cool having the nicest phone in the mission now. it is white and slick. later on Tuesday we gave nastya, the girl we baptized, a blessing, because she has been feeling sick, and school started on the first of Sept. and then we got dogged by a new investigator, who was way drunk when i called him. so, a pretty average day. we ended up looking for the dudes house, because he said to come over, because we had nothing else to do. we couldn't find it, but we found this place, which felt like the sketchiest place I've ever been. in the background was this enormous factory making a bunch of noise, it was dark, there were drunks wandering around, i felt like i was in one of those movies that one guy made. whats his name...the dude who made Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton).

Wednesday was way good. the day started out, sister bigoon fed us breakfast, because she heard that we had run out of money (because our msf was put on late, so everyone starved for a day or two). that was one of the nicest things anyone has done for me in this country. she is a really great, loving lady. so caring. then we had a good district meeting, which was cut short, because we had a lesson with an investigator, Tanya. me and this kid named mironchenko were on a split, by the way. we had not a very good lesson, the members there both said they felt like she was using us for English practice, which is what I've thought for a while too. but she is reading the book of Mormon, so we keep meeting. right after that, we had a good meeting with investigator Sasha. he is so legit. speaks English really well. we convinced him to read out of the book of Mormon every day. because he says he only does when he wants to. so then we talked about desire a lot, and where that comes from. i think it helped. he promised to try to read every day. then we had a quick member lesson, and came back to the church for a new investigator lesson. she dogged us, which gave us time to eat dinner (bread!). then we had another investigator lesson at the church, we taught him the second lesson, very detailed. he is kind of difficult. he doesn't seem all that open, i don't really know why he meets with us. when we ask him, he just says, to learn. but that was a good day, three whole investigator lessons. craziness.

Thursday was my YEAR IN COUNTRY MARK!!! that was pretty crazy. we did some service in the morning, brought some potatoes and onions from this market to a ladies house. they were way heavy. then went to McDonald's, and then went contacting for a long time. that night was a youth night, we had a kind of investigator there. he just won't meet with us because he is Jewish. but comes to lots of activities, so that is cool.

Friday was surprisingly good. i wasn't excited for it when i woke up. we had a lesson with Tanya again, and we planned on dropping her. but she surprised us, she seemed a lot more into it, seemed to understand better, and thanked us for the lesson. we now have two planned lessons for this week with her. then we had a lesson with Alexander, an inactive guy. he is an alcoholic, and he told us that after our last lesson with him, he hasn't drunk at all. he said we filled him with the spirit and his "soul rejoices" when we are there. he is now trying to quit smoking, which is a lot harder. then we had a lesson with a member, and randomly her husband came in and joined in with the lesson. we had just a good spiritual thought, and other relatives came in and took part too. it is cool, because apparently all her family is usually super against it all, but this time they were nice. good day.

Saturday we did service in the morning, then had a lesson with a cool less active who could be the best member in the church. then we had sports night, which was a big success. lots of people showed up, it was great. afterwards, this member who is going on a mission soon invited us over to his place for some food, so we went and had dinner at his place.

Sunday was interesting. the branch is falling apart, kind of. but they are trying to do better. we went over to sister bigoons, who was sick, and gave her a blessing. i had a long time to talk with her while other people got there, and we had a good discussion. she is having a hard time right now because of the problems with the branch. later that night, she called and gave me one of the best compliments I've ever gotten. she thanked me for the conversation i had, said that out of all the people that have tried to help her, for some reason i was the one that really comforted her. she said i had a "gift," that i was a good listener, and that i made her feel a lot better. that was really nice to hear. I'm glad i could help. we also got a random phone call from a member who gave us a referral. that was nice too.

well I'm out of time again. we had a really good week, it turns out. thanks everybody for all the emails. this Friday is transfer calls, we will see what happens! always pretty scary. i love you all, and miss you a bunch. sorry i don't have time to personally reply to all of you. maybe in a couple weeks i will.

love, Elder Brimley