Derek opens his mission call

Monday, December 19, 2011

Carry the corpse downstairs

приветствую! как же туха?

merry holidays everyone! i congratulate you with christmas!

we have been decorating our apartment. lets just say, we bought a christmas tree. a real one! they are pretty cheap here. we got it for less than ten bucks. in our apartment were already some lights and other decorations too. and thanks to my PACKAGES!!!!!!! i put up the merry christmas sign.

THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGES!!!!!!! i am so excited for everything! they are so good. i think they got a little bit....ukrained...but hopefully everything important is still there. i'll send a picture. i love the pictures and letters!! that’s probably my favorite part. and the beef jerky. and mexican spices. mmmmmm. also, a big thank you to everyone who sent me christmas cards! thank you the pews! thank you the stauffers! i love getting letters.

we had a good week. one of the more interesting days of my mission was thursday. there we were, sitting innocently in the morning. suddenly our branch president calls us and asks us for some help. so we go over to this member's house, and it turns out that his mom has died (no one was too surprised, she was like 95 years old). I hope this doesn't sound like i'm taking death lightly. so the help that was needed was for us to go up four stories, and carry the corpse downstairs. one of their weird traditions says that family members aren't allowed to do anything with the dead body. so first of all, the stench was aweful. she was laying there on a bed in their apartment. we picked up the four corners of the sheet she was laying on and started walking. ukrainian stairwells, if i haven't told you this before, are not very spacious. just imagine trying to be respectful of the dead while carrying her down stairs in bedsheets. just outside the door was the coffin, where we laid her. we sang a few hymns, and they nailed the coffin shut. then they shoved in in the back of a car, me and my comp got in with it, and we drove to the cemetary. once we got there, we waited a bit for some more people to come. about ten people were there. we just kind of tried to stay out of the way. some workers came and took the box and everyone followed. they put it in the ground. they threw some dirt on as i watched from a distance. they said a couple of words, and we walked away.

ok so i just talked to you on skype, which took a lot of time away from writing. i'll be brief. tuesday was a really good day. we got two new brother investigators! one named philip, the other festos. both are way legit, festos says he already knows that the book of mormon is true and that our church is the true church. they are a spiritual race, i tell you what.

unfortuanately hales got sick for his first time in ukraine (aww) on friday, so we didn't get much done. but it was my 18 month mark!! so i burned a shirt and tie.

saturday was a day of business. i signed all the contracts and paid all the money for a new apartment in alexeevka. it was interesting...luckily it wasn't too complicated. i just signed all the papers, and now we own the apartment.

yeah. i'm now out of things to write. it was great to talk with you. i can't wait for sunday. I love you!!!!

love, elder derek brimley

Monday, December 12, 2011

Trains New Missionary (Who Wrote the Book of Mormon)

yo yo yo!

training is pretty fun. and funny sometimes. before i ruthlessly make fun of him, i'll say that we really get along, so it's ok. he's a cool kid. i'm glad i get to serve with him. we were walking home the first night, and there was this huge puddle of water. i told him that we should probably walk around, but i guess it didn't look too deep to him, so he starts making his way through. it got really deep and he just started running, yelling "its ochen deep! ochen deep!" haha, it was like above his ankles. i tried to warn him.

it just reminds me of being a greenie myself. that was a really long time ago, but i remember it pretty well. not understanding most anything, no one understanding anything i say, just being completely overwhelmed with it all. allow me to introduce him: his name is elder hales, no relation to the other elder hales. he is straight out of high school, which is really funny hearing all his high school stories. i feel like i grew up a lot while i was at byu, even if i wasn't mature at all. its just funny, hearing about high school drama again. i'm sooooo happy i'm not in high school anymore. its been like...almost 3 years since senior year. geez. he's from roosevelt, utah, which makes him my fourth utahn out of 12. i'm doing pretty good. he's cool, chill, and fun. i'm happy.

we had a couple of good brother lessons this week. one with this guy named stanley and his roomate, yesse (sounds like a guy in the army saying, yessir). he turned out to be a jehovah's witness! who'da thunk? well, they are cool, but aren't too... reliable. but oh well. yesse was new, so we preached the book of mormon. he seemed interested and said he would start reading and praying. legit! the other new brother we found is named micheal. he is...interesting. really funny. he was saying stuff like, "God gave me so many talents! i can sing. i can act. i can play football. in my country, i was a great player. people would watch me play football, and they would say, wow. micheal, you are a great player. so i must use these talents to increase my popularity. but this is not to feed my VANITY! i will use my popularity to preach the GOSPEL! think about it. if out there on the streets, lil' wayne began to preach the gospel, what would you do? you would go and listen. everyone would go and listen. and probably 1000 people would have a baptism." he started talking about how some people were "destined for hellfire", and that if we could see with our spiritual eyes, we would see "thousands of demons flying around" outside. he was cool, a bit crazy, but cool. just crazy enough.

that reminds me of the lesson we had with brat gorskee. he is one of the strongest members of the church here in ukraine. he used to be our branch president, and we met with him the first time on tuesday or something. he told us this story of the day after a surgery, he was laying down in the recovery. this was the first day in his 17 years in the church that he hadn't read the book of mormon. yeah, he's legit. but he said that he felt an evil spirit of darkness around him because he hadn't read. he said he could feel hundreds of demons flying around the room. then he put his arm to the square and cast them out, and they all left. he has a lot of stories like that, he is a spiritual giant. awesome guy.

a couple of nights ago we were having a lesson with a member, and hales told her that he wrote the book of mormon. i did my best not to laugh, but that was a good one.

wait did i tell you that i got my scriptures back? oh my gosh it was a miracle. so if you remember, i lost my scriptures when i came into country. i left them in some airplane and figured they were gone for good. well when the new greenies came to donetsk, some guy in the airport asked them if they knew elder brimley. they said no, but took the number. i called it, and they have kept them for the past year and 4 months. and now i have them back! and they are so much better. i'm so happy.

we've been really busy, which is good. but busy with stuff other than straight up missionary work, so not as good. but i like not having too much free time.

here is my favorite quote of the week. it is from a brother named bede. i asked him to give me some information about another brother, and he went off: 'i don't know! i don't know. i cannot give an account of what i do not know!" that’s just how they talk. it's so funny. i love the brothers.

well, i love you guys. have great weeks, respectively.

cordially yours,

elder brimley

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Anya gets baptized

So, surprise!, I'm back in donetsk. There has been a total of 1 (yes, one) transfer, during which i did not see donetsk. why, you may ask, am in donetsk this time? that is an excellent question. but to build suspense, i'm going to first talk about the baptism.

it went great! kind of. here, unlike most of the civilized world/ church, missionaries are in charge of the entire baptism. and this week we have had a lot to do. i mean, a lot. i'll get to the rest of it later. suffice it to say, we unfortunately couldn't focus 100 percent of our attention on preparation for the baptism. it didn't help that when we got to the church, they had moved the piano into a different room, and said we couldn't move it. so we set everything up in that room, until our branch president came and told us that we had to do it in another room. so we had to re set up really quickly. and then it turned out that the baptismal program had a lot of mistakes (a LOT of mistakes) because, i was in charge of it completely. and i'm human. unfortunately, our branch presidency doesn't understand that, and combined with a preconceived hatred to all missionaries, it made for a long scolding for me. in the end, she was baptised, and everything worked out. but it was stress, ful! elder fish baptised her, and i gave her the holy ghost yesterday. she is great!

so lets go back to... tuesday. tuesday night i called into the zl's, and they mention that elder mcCallson is going home the next day, a week early because of his arm. remember him? yeah, he's going to need surgery. anyways, i wanted to say goodbye, so i called the ap's (one of which is a former companion, haizen). i said my goodbyes to mccallson, and then haizen said he wanted to talk to me. first thing he says: how would you feel if i told you that you were being transferred on sunday? i said that i would honestly be pissed. sorry mom, i couldn't think of a better word. you can edit that one out. he said, are. the new greenies finally got their visa's (they have been serving in america for a month) and you are going to train one of them, and your companion fish will train one of them in alexeevka. needless to say, i was furious. i didn't sleep well that night out of rage. i was not happy.

the next day- oh! i forgot to mention something awesome. wednesday, we had the baptismal interview with anya. the branch presidency were pretty against the baptism, because she couldn't really come to church because of school. well, we asked them to talk to her about it, because i still felt that she could be baptised, and that she would remain active. i just knew. well wednesday she told us that she decided not to take the extra courses next semester, so after three weeks, she will be able to come to church every week! it was a miracle. after the interview, we made president talk with her, because, we wanted him to put his stamp of approval on the baptism. i of course didn't want to baptise her without his permission. they had a good talk.

so that day i was on a split with mendoza. we were eating dinner that night, and i get a call from elder haizen again. we made a mistake, he said. fish is leaving, and you are staying. i thanked my lucky stars, and made sure that it wasn't because of something i said that made them change it. he said that that day, he, his companion, and president prayed one last time about the transfer, and all felt like the change had to be made. it was a miracle! poor fish, i don't envy his position. i couldn't really pretend to be excited for him, because he saw how (sorry) pissed i was about leaving. i think he is ok with it.

another thing we had to do- apparently they want to put another couple of missionaries in the alexeevka branch (which i am against, by the way). so we had to go check out an apartment that they picked out. we met with the landlord, talked about the apartment, looked at it, talked about what else missionaries will need (there is only one bed and no washing machine). but overall, it was really nice. i told them we will take it, and let the office talk with them about paperwork. the next day, saturday (yeah, baptism day), they called me up and said that they reconsidered and decided not to give us the apartment. before i could ask why they hung up. so i called the office, and he said he would figure it out. i haven't heard about it since.

so sunday after church we headed by bus to donetsk to pick up the greenies. it was a really long ride because the stupid bus stopped in every city, and waited forever. and they were playing this stupid sitcom that was like scrubs but not funny. a normally 5 hour ride turned into 7 1/2. boo. oh well. we got in, and slept over at some elders house.

so this morning we went to the church and had a little transfer meeting, got our greenies, and had a good little meeting. we are leaving in about thirty minutes to catch a train. that should be fun. so now i'm with...elder hales, from utah! only my fourth from utah. we haven't had a chance to talk too much, but i think he will be good. this is a for sure 2 transfer companion. took a while to have one of those.

ok questions. we had a thanksgiving for the ward. in ukraine they have 'harvest day', which they just stole from us. i don't know the life expectancy, but i think it is probably around 65 or so. its rare you meet any older than that. there are older men, they are usually jerks and drunk though. not too many old man investigators. there are many more women than men. but that is pretty church wide. my companion is feeling well. it is pretty cold, it stays around zero. part of the city is decorated, yes. it should be really pretty when there is snow. i don't know about the packages, but i hope they come soon!!!!! thanks for them in advance!!!! you are the best. i will look for a nativity thing. that is a way good idea.

we are kind of in a hurry. thanks for everything! i love you! wish me luck...

elder brimley