Derek opens his mission call

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween


We decided to go all out this time, so we bought a whole bunch of Roshen candy. there is a Roshen factory right next to my apartment, so it was easy. yeah, it smells up the whole neighborhood, its great.

which i won't be smelling anymore because i
got a TRANSFER CALL! yeah, pretty unexpectedly on friday morning. I'm out. i've only had two transfers here, three months. it
went quick. really quick. time is just flying. which is better than the alternative. i'm happy, excited for the new area, companion, district, but i easily could have done another one here. after only three months, i still feel like there is stuff i missed. but what ever, i'll go where i'm told.

as way of answering your questions, yes i think i should have enough money. i have technically ordered a couple of things from the artist, i just need to pay her. and she will have to send it to me somehow. but that is ok. as for a christmas package....where to start. beef jerky is always good. spices (especially taco seasonings, i eat that a lot. although i still have some left from last christmas.) as for clothes, i can get it easier and cheaper here, so no need. garments i can get for super super cheap, and free shipping, so no need. candy is always appreciated, of course. by the way, the mission got the halloween package, but because i live in mariupol, i don't have it yet. i'll get it on thursday. thanks so much!!!!!!!

my week it was good though. we had a good less
on with sasha on tuesday, we talked about the vision of the tree of life. he said he really liked it. he kept on adding onto the vision, making cool observations. like: once you get closer to the tree, it won't be so dark, because the light from the tree will shine through the darkness. he is such a great guy. i'm sad to say goodbye. hopefully one day he
will be baptised.

here is a quote from a kid in the mission: "a dude from siberia told me this place was cold. a black dude from africa told me it was hot here. i dude from iraq told me that this place is dangerous." i'd like to add my piece.

a woman who cannot leave her apartment, dogged us on a lesson. yeah. that happened this week. our babooshka who told us that we could come any time, who can barely walk without the help of a chair, wasn't home when we knocked. that was a low for the week i think.

we did a split with borget, a greenie in the other area. it was good, we walked alot. we went looking for less active members, and one of them was on the very edge of the city. and by the time we got there it was dark. and it turned into a maze. and we don't have a good map. and dang ukraine doesn't know how to number their buildings understandably. but eventually we found the right apartment, and we are fairly sure no one lives there anymore. dang day light savings makes it really dark by 5:30. thats not good for the work. it was a good night, we were very tired by the end. lots of walking.

so ever since i got a transfer call, we have been contacting/ exploring a lot. it has been fun, we got a lot of good pictures and saw some cool things i haven't seen yet. and i also am going to eat a sharma every day until i leave. they are just so dang good here.

anyways, thats pretty much it. i'm doing good. i'll let you know next week where i end up. if i stay in my next area for 3 transfers, this will be my thangsgiving, christmas, new years, russian christmas, valentines day, presidents day, and birthday area. this is a big one. just everyone pray for me that i don't go back to donetsk. i've had enough of that city.

i love you guys. thanks for all the letters. thanks for the package! i hope you enjoy the pictures. i'll try to send a few more before i leave.

love you!

love, elder brimley

Saturday night was pretty scary

Hello my american friends!

I am happy about the week. more things worked out than normally, people just seemed to meet with us. thats always good. it doesn't sound like much, but 10 lessons in a week for this area isn't bad. we met with pretty much everyone that is possible and willing to meet with us. and got two new investigators! not bad at all for one week. and some other...not so cool stuff happened. but not to me, so thats good. but i'll talk about that later.

tuesday, we finally met with igor, a guy that has been coming to institute, ward activities, even church once, for months. but he has never just met with us missionaries for some reason. he is kind of an interesting guy. the other day, us and some youth were at the church, and he was like, when is somebody going to tell me about joseph smith? i told him anytime, and he kind of played it off like he was joking. but later i called him and finally got him to have a meeting with us. it's a big step. so we meet and talk, get to know each other. we planned on teaching the first lesson, but we got kind of sidetracted because he admitted to us (i don't think it was a secret, i just didn't know) that he was an atheist. but only kind of an atheist. it is pretty obvious to me that he is doubting his unbelief. we ended up just talking about God for an hour, and by then it was too late to teach the restoration thoroughly. it was still good though. we peaked his interest. the problem is, he is leaving for two weeks tomorrow, and i don't know if i'm staying that long. hopefully, i guess.

i don't know if i'm staying or going. its pretty much 50-50. i don't mind either way, i'll be happy. i'll find out on friday. i love mariupol, but i also would love to go back to xarkov.

we had couple of days without much to do other than contact, but we actually saw some (not a lot, but some) success. this area is hard for contacting, i don't really know why. luckily, we had some stuff to break it up with: a youth fireside, district meeting, youth night. sasha and igor came to youth night, which was good. we also had like five member lessons, talked about "my zion", which is a way to get referrals, but it didn't work very well. we will keep trying with that.

on friday we got another new investigator, a babooshka who lives in our...stairwell. подъезд. we met her randomly thanks to a mistake i made a week or two ago, and in the process, we asked her if we could come over sometime and talk to her. she was ecstatic, yes! please! i spend every day alone in my apartment come over please! so we did, we had a nice visit. she is pretty brainwashed by the orthodox church, but she is sweet. taught a nice first lesson. it will be good to meet her, give her some company, and hopefully we can help her come closer to God.

saturday night was pretty scary. we were at the church, it was sasha's (the guy who is going on a mission soon) birthday, so we were having a cake with him. a couple of elders in my district were messing around, trying to do a backflip off the others back, and basically, not surprisingly, it ended up bad. one elder got a really bad cut on his forehead, and dislocated his shoulder. he had to get stitches in his forehead, and he is getting an mri tomorrow for his shoulder. pretty scary, there was a lot of blood. but it is all taken care of, kind of. it was scary for a while.

anyways, i'm doing good. i'm happy right now. i'm preparing for the long winter, it is getting cold already. but i'm excited. i'm still loving the mission. i love all of you guys. thanks for all the letters and everything.

love elder brimley

Monday, October 17, 2011

Derek recovers

Dear family and friends,

So the craziness has passed. It was fun while it lasted, but I'm happy to be healthy--hopefully I'm healthy. the doctor in Donetsk told me, "you are a healthy person now. you can go eat McDonalds. but you aren't healthy." so I'm taking some stuff to heal me. i feel completely OK, i don't have any symptoms anymore. Dr. mayberry, the Kiev doctor, says I'm going to be totally fine, and i trust him.

OK lets answer mom's questions: yes, my comp of course missed me when i was gone. everybody did. actually, i've felt a lot of love from the branch, all the members were pretty worried about me. i didn't do much work with them in Donetsk, unfortunately. i brought up my proselytes, but in the hurry, i forgot my pants. plus, the doctor told me to take it easy. but i was willing! we did have one lesson, with an investigator girl. my comp stayed down here with another companionship. they did some work in our area, so it wasn't a complete waste. i still don't know who that man was who yelled at us, i never heard of him again. probably a state health worker. Sasha is doing good, i hope he gets baptized soon. we talk about it often.

ok so until thursday i was in Donetsk. which was pretty annoying, because we were mostly just waiting around by the end. its ok though. they had to figure out what was wrong. so monday night we had family night with a family in petrovsky, in the zone leader's area. it was good, they fed us deliciously. tuesday we finally got the results of the tests i took on monday. we got them around threeish, translated them, and sent them to dr. mayberry. he said i was doing a lot better, most of the bad signs had gone down, though there was still some stuff not perfect. he was also worried about the blood in my urine, so he advised to get another urine test. we couldn't that day, it was too late, so we did it the next day. i gave it Wednesday morning, got the results that night, and talked to a doctor about it. he gave me some ideas for medicine, and i talked to dr. mayberry about them, and he said that it would be good, so i've been taking them. it was too late to go home on wednesday, so we left thursday morning. i was pretty happy to be back. it was way annoying to just sit around, even though i felt better already. but there was nothing to be done. it was a fun little trip, but i realized that i still really want to be doing missionary work.

the rest of that day on Thursday i just got re-settled in, showered, dressed, ate, and that night we had a youth night sort of thing, and we actually had three investigators there: Sasha, Igor, and this dude named Victor. that was crazy to see him. victor is like a forty year old man i first met in donetsk at english. he came regularly, but then english got cancelled, so i never saw him again. suddenly he shows up to the building and i was just in shock. so he said he would like to meet with us personally, and we definitely will. that would be crazy if he turned into a good investigator. it was an ok night, so not very many people showed up, and nobody really knew what we were doing. but it was good.

so i want to survive a little bit more comfortably this winter. thus, friday morning we went to the market and bought a sweet hat (also to hide my terrible haircut.) and some legit warm pants. i still need to get some gloves, a sweater, and some winter boots. i really should have had those last winter. we had a good district meeting later that day, followed by correlation meeting. after that we had planning and dinner. Saturday was a pretty empty day, so we had lots of time to contact. we luckily had a lesson with Sasha, the member, not investigator. we gave him a suit that i found up in the office in Donetsk. he is going on a mission in about a month, and i knew he needed another suit, and it is a pretty nice one. actually i think it is a really nice suit. i don't know anything about suits, but another elder told me that it was a really nice brand, probably about a 500$ suit. he was very appreciative. he is an awesome guy. we talked about how to prepare to go on a mission.

president campero came down for church on sunday, it was really good. he was awesome, and i think it helped them understand that they need to support us. he pretty much told them that if they don't support us, then he will take elders out of the branch. after church we had interviews. it is always good to talk with president. he is such a humble man. so loving. just what this mission needed. a perfect pick. by the way, he said that we will be able to Skype at Christmas. that will be good. whoa. thats only like two months away. we have almost made it through the biggest gap.

OK my time is running out. but thank you all for your support, your prayers, and your love. i love you guys and miss you a lot. i want you to know that i know the church is true. and i love this gospel. i've been reading a lot of talks recently, especially Neal a. Maxwell, and i just love the gospel. it is so fascinating. you can never know it all. anyways, you guys have a great week.

love, elder Brimley

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Update on Derek's illness

Dear Family and Friends,

Many of you expressed concern about Derek based on his last
email, so I thought I would give you an update.

I actually talked to him today. I called the mission office to get an
update and he was there. He went to see a doctor this morning and was
put on antibiotics for an infection. He was also diagnosed with
Gilbert's syndrome by a Dr in Salt Lake and a Dr. serving as an area
Doctor over Ukraine. He describes this syndrome this way:"After
discussing his case with a Gastrointestinal Specialist in SLC, we feel
your son has Gilbert's syndrome. This is were there is a mild
deficiency in a liver enzyme that processes bilirubin. It is a benign
process that does not need treatment. It can be caused from such
things as viral illnesses and prolonged fasting. It can also run in
certain families. I asked that he have his liver tests repeated in a
month to establish a new baseline"

Steve actually has this syndrome also. I think his appearance of
yellowish eyes and skin is the reason the hospitals and Doctors in
Ukraine would not help him because of the fear of Hepatitis. Derek
sounded good although it has been quite an ordeal for him. A couple
scary experiences with the Ukrainian health care system. We are hoping
that he makes a full recovery and can focus on being a missionary. He
is anxious to get back to Mariupol where he is serving.

We really appreciated Dr./Elder Mayberry who helped Derek and
communicated with us and let us know what was happening with him. He
told me to tell everyone hello and thanks you for prayers on his
behalf. I also wanted to thank you for your concern and kindness. We
are so lucky to have so many people who care for us.
love to all,
PS Derek was worried that I would freak out...I didn't do too bad.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Derek Learns About Ukrainian Hospitals--the Hard Way

Hello everyone,

I am so happy that p-day has come and i'm talking to you guys finally! it has been one of those weeks. Mom, i kind of envision that you are going to freak out, so i will start out like this: don't freak out. i'm totally good. don't worry. i look great. i got a haircut yesterday and it looks good (actually elder winchester kind of messed up and i've got a weird part on the side of my head, but it will go away.) on saturday i had a huge beard and it looked great. but i'll get to that later.

there is a lot to write. i don't think this has anything to do with it, but we had a barbeque with Rustam, this awesome member, in celebration of his birthday, on p-day. it was way fun, and i ate a whole lot of meat. it was so tasty. mmmm it was good. we had a blast celebrating and everything. that night we had a good family night with mama bigoon and our investigator sasha. we talked about doing missionary work, and sasha actually seemed very interested, so that is awesome. then, we went to sleep. or at least, tried. for some reason, i just couldn't get to sleep at all. sometimes that happens, i figure, but it was a long night. when we woke up, i felt pretty exhausted, which was understandable. i also had some pain just going through my body, but it wasn't too bad. and we didn't have too much to do that day, so we just took it easy, went and helped mow the lawn of the church, made phone calls, and at night had one member lesson. i figured afterwards that i was going to have a great night sleep, because i was so exhausted. i had no appetite so i didn't really eat all day except one pancake my companion made, and i had to force it down. not because it was disgusting, it was rather tasty.

yeah, i didn't sleep at all again tuesday night. the pain was getting worse throughout my body, and especially my legs. i had taken a lot of advil, but it didn't do too much, it seemed. i just moved around all night, and got up to go to the bathroom several times during the night. i "woke up" feeling a bit better, but, trying to study was impossible. i was so tired, and my mind couldn't focus with all the pain. it wasn't like, extreme pain, but it was enough. that morning we started a split with mccallison, who came to me, and by then i was worse. we had a lesson with a member, and then came home and made tacos. again, i didn't have much appetite, so i had one small taco and called it good. then we walked to a lesson at the church. by the time we got there i was really exhausted, and in pain. our investigator dogged us, but luckily mama bigoon was there. she freaked out about my sickness. my eyes were yellow again, and my fever had risen. we measured my temperature, and it was 38,75- about a 102. thats not good. she suspected hepetitis again, and called a taxi to take me home. to break my fever, she did this weird thing. she rubbed me down with vinegar. don't worry, only partly. she told mccallison to do the rest, which he did. i thought it was pretty weird. but actually it helped. maybe. anyways, i call some people, and they tell me to get some blood tests done.

that night again, like usual, not much sleep. and lots of peeing, which was painful. i wake up feeling better, but i knew that it was a lie. ok so this is now thursday. mama bigoon comes and picks us up, because she is amazing like that, and we walk together to the blood place. she used to work at the hospital, so she hooked us up, took us to the good place, got us good service. here in this country before blood tests you aren't supposed to eat the whole day before, so i hadn't. and i hadn't in the past few days. and i was just weak in general. so giving blood was actually worrisome, given my inclination to pass out like a little baby. plus they are ruthless sticking in their needles here. she sticks me, and i feel the blood rush out of my head. i knew what was coming, but i fought it off until she was done taking the blood. after, i must've looked bad, they start waving at me, keeping me consious. i needed some energy, so they brought me some tea. i started drinking and then i realized, this probably isn't fruit tea. its probably green tea. but then i thought, marijuana is bad unless you have a medical reason. i needed that tea. dont judge me! i'm a sinner. dont worry i repented.

so then we go home and i took a little nap. i woke up and felt a lot better. we had district meeting and because of my fallen, pathetic state we had it in our apartment. the zl's bangeter and winchester came down. we had a good district meeting, but throughout it i just felt worse and worse. it started with the shivers, and i knew what that meant. i got myself warm and it turned into a fever. i was in a lot of pain and really weak and just out of it. the zl's and mccallison stayed with me afterwards while the rest of the district went to another meeting at the branch. they gave me a priesthood blessing. while they were there, mama bigoon came over and checked me out. so my fever was 103. she called an ambulance. but here ambulances come into the apartment to take care of you, and then if necessary, take you away. this huge fat dude who smelled strongly of smoke. basically he checked me and admitted that he had no idea. he really wanted to take me to the hospital, because it is like a law. we told him no, i'm not going to a mariupol hospital. they fought for a while, and eventually, we won. but they gave me a big ol' shot right in the cheek. not very pleasant. i don't recommend it. i don't know what was in the shot, but it made me feel great! really just fantastic. so i called dr. mayberry, the main doctor in kiev. i told him my symptoms, and he said that he couldn't diagnose it, that it was serious, and he wanted a hospital to check me out. and that he didn't trust public hospitals in ukraine, so i would need to go to donetsk.

luckily, the zl's were already down, so i just went up with them. i quickly packed my bags, called a taxi, and left. it was way expensive, 500 grivin. we went straight to this really nice hospital there, and talked with this cool doctor. he checked me out a bit, and told me that he thought it was hepetitis. unfortunately, according to some stupid law, a person with my symptoms aren't allowed to stay with them. so they told me to get a blood and urine test to see if it was. i already had a blood test, so i decided to just go to the zl's to stay the night. there i had another long, sleepless night.

ok that was all thursday. friday was another really long day. i woke up feeling better. after we woke up we drove to the office, where the mission driver picked us up in the (brand new) mission car. he drove us to the main donetsk public hospital. we walk into the dark, cold, scary building and ask the lady where to go with a sick person. she looked at us like we were crazy, so we explained further. she said she had no idea and went to ask someone else. someone else came out and told us to come back when we get the blood results. so we go back to the office and wait for results. as we were waiting this dude strolls in, sweating, in a suit, with a suitcase, and starts asking, where is the sick kid? i say, right here. he starts yelling at me for not going to a hospital yesterday after calling the ambulance. i say, i went to a hospital, but he wasn't listening. he was mad. he kept yelling, and other people came into the room until it was a full enough room, everyone just yelling. eventually we calm him down, and he leaves. we still don't know who sent him, or how he found out where i was.

then the results come. they aren't good. so the normal belirubin count in blood should be from 1.7- 20.5. mine was 54.9. a lot of other bad things. we run back to the hospital where five different people check me out, and give me a diagnosis i can't remember. they wanted to hospitalize me there. i didn't want that. it was a terrible hospital. dirty, a bunch of babooshky running around everywhere. i didn't want that at all. we were trying to give our doctor (mission doctor) in kiev all this information, so he could figure out what to do next, and they refused to give us the information. they got angry when we asked, offended, started yelling at us and told us to leave. we told that to the doctor, and he was like, yeah, you don't have to deal with that crap. thats why we hate public hospitals. get out of there. so we went to that other hospital and got a sonogram. its a boy! they actually didn't find much.

so then i was talking to the doctor in kiev again, and he sounded like i was doing ok and that i was going to get better without hospitilization. he said i should get some more tests but i didn't need anything too serious. so that was a weird shift. so i went home and slept again. i went on saturday morning to get the blood test but they are closed on the weekend! good job, ukraine. so i spent sat/sun watching conference. it was awesome! i loved it. i don't have too much else to say about it, but it was great. oh and on saturday a little bit of blood came out with my pee. it wasn't too much, i'm ok. and so this morning we went and gave the blood, three vials full, and a urine test too. i'll get the results tomorrow. so....i'm feeling much better! don't worry about me. everyone has been great to me. i'm in good hands.

MOM DON'T FREAK OUT. I LOVE YOU. you are so great. i never appreciated you guys like i do now, and i'm so excited to see you all again. but i don't want to come home yet, i'm so glad i have another 9 months to serve. i love the mission. but being sick (sorry mom) stinks! thanks for everything. you guys rock, i love you.

love, elder brimley

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Giant steel factory was beautiful

Dear family and friends,

Hey, so first off, so i don't forget: if you want anything from this art lady, you need to let me know by next monday. it takes a while to get things finished, as you might imagine. i think we should get at least something. it is pretty cheap: about 40 $ for a big egg. everything is probably around 30-50$. let me know, please.

what up, yo? no, we didn't get to watch conference. and because of some decisions somewhere, i don't know when we are going to get to watch it. we get owned here. when did the provo tabernacle burn down? that is cool they are making a new temple there, that will help with the traffic. it will have to be pretty small, i guess.

oh and by the way, i heard through the grape vine that there was a physics discovery recently. and that neutrinos have broken the speed of light. so if that is true, that is the biggest thing in physics in like a hundred years. not that i'm some huge physicist or anything, but... you know. just keep me updated. (note: I guess Ukraine hears about scientific breakthroughs before the rest of the world)

OK on to the week. i don't know if i want to go through day by day this week. it isn't worth it. lets go through the big stuff. on Tuesday we were supposed to have a new investigator lesson, but the dude called and told us that he was out of town. so we had no lessons that day. in all we only had four lessons this week. i don't know what happened, we got dogged several times, a few people were out of town, people just couldn't meet. worse than usual, i mean. but its OK. we had a good day Wednesday to make up for it. we had a good district meeting, and then we went out as a district and contacted, basically. none of us had anything else to do, so we went on some little splits. then, that night i started a split with garlock, a kid in the district. he is a fun, cool kid, so it was a good time. he is in a hard area, so we didn't do any teaching or anything. but it was still good.

so Sasha is doing really well. we met with him twice this week, once at family night with some youth, and then just a lesson on Friday. the lesson was really good. we talked about the atonement and repentance. he ate it up, he said he really enjoyed the lesson and learned a lot. he likes specifics, so we went pretty deep into the repentance process. he is such a legit guy. he loves meeting, loves the people, and came to church for his second time yesterday! I'm way happy for him, he is making good, slow maybe, but good progress. i love that guy. he brings us goodies pretty much every lesson. he works as a candy salesmen, so he knows the good stuff. that isn't the only reason i love him, don't worry.

Saturday was pretty fun, too. it was church wide service day! we went to the church, and raked up leaves for about 30 minutes. we didn't make too much of a difference, and i don't know why we raked up leaves before any of them even fell, but rake we did. and then we had a delicious little picnic. sports night got cancelled so we had nothing to do the rest of the day, unfortunately. but what ev's.

I'm trying to think of other things that happened. a couple of hours ago, me and my comp did monthly shopping at a wonderful store called metro. we spent 1000 grivin, which is about 150 bucks. approximately, half of our combined monthly funds. i think it was wise. i hope it was. oh! me and my comp have been running in the mornings, and the other day we ran to this legit 14 story abandoned apartment complex. we climbed to the top, which turned out to be super legit. the view was amazing! one of the best views I've seen in this country. the sunrise in the background of the giant steel factory was beautiful.

OK. well I'm out. thanks for everything! love you guys!

love, elder brimley