Derek opens his mission call

Monday, November 28, 2011

And Most Importantly

ok this was quite the week, so here we go.

first of all, monday night. we had a lesson with anya, it was good. i don't know if the other elders before us ever tried to put her on date for baptism, but it was super easy. we just asked her to pick a date, and she picked december 3rd. so, we are having a baptism this week! four o'clock. she is so ready. there was one problem though. she can't come to church, because she goes to school on sundays. we talked it over with her, we talked with president campero, and he said that we are allowed to baptise her. she finishes school in may, and after that she will come to church every week. she has a super good friend in the church, so that was one big comfort, that she wasn't just going to go inactive. we thought it over, and figured that it would be ok. she is also only 17, so we got her parents permission, thankfully. so on sunday, we told our branch presidency, and they were pretty worried that we were baptizing yet another inactive girl. which is understandable- it happens all the time. luckily, we had a lesson set up for after church, so we asked the branch president to talk with her.

so she comes for the lesson, and gives us the great news- she isn't going to enroll in the next semester, so she can come to church every week (after this semester ends in three weeks)! plus, she is coming to church this sunday to receive the holy ghost. that was just a miracle. president miroshnichenko (branch president) talked with her, made sure she was ready, and then gave his approval as well. its so great!! i am so excited for her. she is such a cool girl. its cool seeing the divine hand work everything out. everybody pray so that nothing goes wrong. ved it's ukraine.

i went on a split with elder stradling on tuesday. we had a couple of funny meetings. first with this lady named zoya. she is crazy. but a fun sort of crazy. she starts out almost every sentence with the words, "and most importantly!" and then goes on to say what is most important. and usually, its not that important. "...and most importantly, you need to protect your legs from the cold." but she is a good lady. she gave us a referral! she said she was going to contact her for us, and then give us the ok to contact her.

oh man. thanksgiving was awesome. we had a feast at the branch on wednesday night, and then a missionary feast on thursday. it was so awesome. i haven't had real pumpkin pie in a long time. mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, everything. it was so incredible. i just can't get over it. i stuffed myself to the brim, naturally. oh my boy it was so good. i can't wait for next years thanksgiving. oh man!

unfortunately, elder fish got pretty sick on friday and saturday. he's doing better, but still not 100%. oh! on saturday there was a baptism in center xarkov, so we went to see it. the lady that got baptised was interesting. she is an old lady, with this HUGE braid of hair that goes to her thighs. and she requested the water to be super cold. poor elder thornburg. when she got in the water, she was like, so, three times, right? he said no, just once. what!? its always three times! then she wouldn't give him her hands, saying that she wasn't afraid, and then tried to dunk herself. he finally got her to be still, said the prayer, and did it. afterwards, she bore her testimony and said that 3 was God's favorite number, so she has now been baptised 3 times! she is a sweet lady though.

after the baptism, i had my first lesson with a brother! it went great. he is a legit, smart, really cool guy from nigeria. speaks english very... understandably. but, of course, he actually recently moved into the other elder's area. so we passed him to them. he is a cool guy. i think he can go the whole way.

i gave a talk on sunday, and i tried to use a whole bunch of idiomatic phrases that i've picked up, and the members ate it up. everybody thought it was so funny. heres my favorite: in russian, you can say, "there are few of us, but we are in sailor shirts", and it means, basically, we can do it even though our numbers are few. they loved that one. and yes, i bought a sailor shirt down in mariupol, just in case you were wondering.

that was the week. i think it was a good week. this week should be pretty busy with the baptism stuff, but that’s how i like it. i think that is about all that i've got. i'm still loving life in aleksayvka. i'm happy and working hard. that’s good. i hope all is well there, it sounds like it is. i love you guys, and always pray for you.

have a great week.

love elder brimley

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Broken Toe

haw fah? sorry just brushing up on my pidgen.

my return date has been changed. my visa expires on july 7th, so i can't go home july 10th, so either i'm going to get my visa renewed again, or i'm coming home at the end of may-ish. i don't know which, i guess i'll just wait and see.

that was quite the letter, mom. i don't know what to say.

my shoes, shirts, suits.... one pair of shoes is owned. the other is fine, and i got a pair of boots for the winter, so i should be good on shoes until the end. my shirts are fine, i still have some in the package. i pretty much never wear long sleeve, i always just have short sleeve under other layers. my suits are both fine, i don't wear them too often. my camera is AWESOME. it is so....sleek. i'm satisfied.

this was another interesting week. so on monday playing soccer i messed up my big right toe pretty bad by kicking (accidentally) someones foot. yeah, i was pretty sure it was broken. it was really painful. i was limping around for like three days. it got swollen pretty bad, and turned purple-ish. but i got an x-ray on tuesday, and they didn't think it was broken. so i guess i'm good. it only kind of hurts now. tuesday i decided to take it easy, so i let my comp go on some splits for the lessons we had set up and i sat at home the whole day. i still think its broken, and ukranian doctors are just stupid. oh well.

we had a big meeting on wednesday that took up most of the day. and then the church was closed for cleaning (no one told us, and actually the branch president didn't even know about it). so we had to cancel our investigator lesson/ coordination meeting. so that day was shot.

nobody ever can meet until night time here, thanks to school and work. so thursday we didn't have anything until six, a good lesson with anya, our cool investigator who is really close to baptism. we committed her to choose a date for baptism by our next meeting. and our next meeting is tonight! so lets pray for her. after that we had a member lesson with the coolest. family. ever. they fed us, and are just the funnest, funniest, most legit members ever. it is an older couple, probably in their 40's or 50's, and they are just a blast. we played uno with some of their special rules, and it was just a great night. awesome, awesome people.

stanislav, another investigator is doing well. the church had an open house on saturday, and he came, and really liked it. we also met with him on friday. he has a 3-d tv, and showed us how it works. it was really legit. and we had a good lesson about putting God first in our lives, before anything else. i think he got it, i hope. he is leaving for a few weeks, so we won't be able to meet for a while. but we can stay in touch through TEXTING. did i tell you we can now TEXT? it is awesome!!!! i've been texting the brothers like crazy, reminding them of everything. its so so so great.

we had a pancake waffle night on saturday night, which was unfortunate, because our investigator ben, from america, said he was coming, and then dogged us. but we still got waffles and pancakes. it was delicious. i havent had waffles in over a year. and they made blueberry waffles as well! tasty.

THANKSGIVING is this week!!!!! our branch is having a huge feast celebration on wednesday, and then all of the kharkov missionaries are getting together thursday afternoon for another huge feast. i'm going to get huge. other than that, i hope nothing intrudes our week, because we should have a successful one if everything goes smoothly, and people can meet. we have so much potential in this area, if we can just meet with people! ugh.

well, i love you. i love the mission, i love the church, and i love life! i'm getting trunky thinking about my release date. but not too bad. did i tell you that a subway is opening up in my area sometime? i don't know when, but i hope i'm here for it. i'll go everyday.

ok i'm blabbering. once again, i love y'all.

elder brimlez

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Derek Loves the African-Ukranians


i've been working on my jive. you just replace all the t's with d's. id's hader dan choo dink. ad ids relly had da undastand. plus they mix up the accents in words all the time. its so hard to understand! but its still really cool. i actually didn't meet any of the brothers until sunday, though we had 8 set up lessons with them. they don't up to lessons. we have changed our game plan. we are going to just meet with member brothers, and tell them to invite friends. we figure member brothers will be a bit more reliable. hopefully.

we keep really busy in this area. if people would come to their appointments, we would be doing awesome. we would have had around 10 investigator lessons. it's hard, they are so awesome if you meet with them, but getting them to where you want them is crazy difficult. i feel kind of racist all the time, but... its just their culture. about 10 percent of the time, brothers will answer their phones. if you talk to them, they will 90 percent of the time set up a lesson with you (though i usually only understand 20 percent of what they say). and then probably 5 percent of the time, they won't show. but, from what i hear, if you meet with them, 75 percent of the time, they agree to be baptised on the first lesson. probably about 10 percent get baptised eventually. that’s a lot better than the .01 percent for the average ukrainian, i guess.

you might be interested to know that elder mendoza is in my district. i don't know if i've mentioned this, but me and him get along awesome. i love mendoza, we are tight friends now. maybe i have mentioned that. we went on a split this last week and it was a blast. we caught a pigeon out of his 7 story window. don't worry, we let it go.

on saturday we did some service at a zoo, it was fun. our zone all came and cleaned up and planted some trees. i just realized that we planted trees in november. it is winter. then our branch president called us and we went and helped him move out of his apartment. he is really wealthy, and had a lot of stuff. and lives on the fourth floor without an elevator. they had this huge sofa, and couldn't figure out how to get it through the door, so we ended up lowering it down from his balcony using ropes. it was scary, i was at the bottom, and this giant sofa was lowering on top of me. if it had broken off, i'd be dead. but thanks to the mercy of God, i live.

i'm loving life. i love staying busy, and i'm always busy in this area. i don't like being rushed, and that also happens, but i love being busy. i hope i stay here a long time. pray for me.

i love you guys. thanks for sending me letters and reading mine. i cant wait to talk to you in what, six weeks? woohoo! and it will be skype!!!! i get to see you guys. oh yeah, i hit my 2/3rds mark on a mission this last thursday. crazy, huh? it feels like i'm about to go home, that is so sad! i wish i still had 2 years ahead of me. the mission is a heartwrenching experience. man.

ok i got sidetracked. have a great week!

love, elder brimley

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

me and fish white-washed in

Dear family and friends,

as waz of explanation, the kezboard is prettz messed up. the y and z are mixed up, but it isnt worth taking time to fix. so deal with it.

I am in Alexeevka!!!!! it is a part of xarkov. and actuallz, it is known throughout the mission as the best area. like, the verz best. it is true, i testifz. i have a list of about 20 current investigators. the secret of success? black people. so simple. there are a lot of english speaking universities around this area, and it is reallz cheap. so africans come bz the hundreds. and i tell zou what. thez are all reallz humble, happz, and willing to listen. thez are super faithful.

here are a couple of miracles that have happened in the past two dazs. i got a call from this guz, he was speaking english. he set up a lesson with us for the next daz. turns out, he is from pakistan, was baptised there, and had to escape from the muslims that were going to kill him for being christian. but he is a super strong member, such simple, but strong faith. he is kind of culture shocked (he said when he got off the plane and saw his breath, because it is cold, he got afraid because he thought it was smoke, and he never has smoked!) and doesn't speak a lick of english. but he is a great guz.

then we were walking to district conference zesterdaz, and this black guz, henceforth known as a brother, comes up to us. he is kind of an investigator, but we didnät know that. we saz we are going to church, and he was like, oh, i cant come. i just had a waz late night, i need sleep. we talk a bit more, and he was like, zou know what, im coming. theres no reason to miss church. turns out, he is from pennszlvania. he is an awesome, huge black guz, and he reallz liked conference. this area, man. its just...

there is a store like costco about a 20 minute walk from mz house. and thez are building a mall right next to that, with a SUBWAZ!!!!!!! but i will probablz be home bz the time it is open. anzwazs, i want to die here. i love it so much.

i called a brother zesterdaz 3 times, he said he was coming 3 times, and then he didnät come, and wouldnt answer his phone. but if zou meet with them, thez will get baptised. there are like 10 member brothers in the branch. lots of translating to do, zes.

zour prazers worked out. i was reallz sad to leave mariupol after onlz 2, three is more common. it was sad to saz goodbze to everzone, and the delicious sharmas. sasha was doing great, he said this- i like mormons. i love mormons. mazbe, one daz, i will be a mormon. then i said- mormons love zou too! and he said- zes, and i can feel it. i hope he gets baptised. not too much happened my last week in mariupol. but i really love that place.

i never got anything ordered anything from the art lady, she was kind of hard to work with. she only lived in mariupol two days of the week, and i only really ever saw her on sundays. but i can still get stuff ordered, it will just be more difficult. i might. for the christmas package.... oh you know me. i never know what to ask for. i'm sure you guys can think of good stuff. nothing that i will have to bring back, unless it is really cool. i don't need any more weight. thanks!!!! and yes, i'm feeling completely well. maybe still a bit fat from halloween. (speaking of returning to BYU) i don't know about anything related to housing. i'm know absolutely nothing. i can figure it out, online, if you need me to. oh no. you made me TRUNKY. most missionaries i've talked to agree. trunkiness is more just like a state of being on a mission. it never goes away. sometimes you can just ignore it better than other times. less than nine months....

oh yeah, my companion is named elder fish. yeah, he gets lots of remarks about that from ukranians. ooh, kak riba, da? he is a young elder, from las vegas. (2nd from las vegas.) he is a good kid, friendly, hard worker.

hey i just noticed the keyboard is back to normal. oorah!!!

oh i don't think i mentioned that me and fish white-washed in. it means we both are new to the area.

i love you all, and hope you have as good of weeks as i'm about to have. but i doubt it.

love, elder brimley