Hello from my new area (Lugansk)!!!!!
If i'm not mistaken, Brad (Derek's cousin) served here (yes he did). I don't know if he reads this, but maybe he would like to pass a message or something along to somebody here. if they are still around, that could be cool. I literally thought that I had gone to the best area of the mission, Alexeevka, so anything next would be a step down. I was wrong. this is just as good. it is a satellite city about 5 hours north-east of donetsk. right on the border of russia. most people here consider themselves russians. It is one of two cities in our mission with a magical restaurant called 'blinok', a delicious crepe restaurant. man its good! my companion and I are white washing in, which means we both are new here. my companion is one transfer older than me, and going home in two transfers, so I will be his last companion. so out of all possible combinations of areas and companions, I have the very best of the very best. I literally couldn't possibly ask for better. I will probably die here after killing my companion. which sounds wonderful. I can't describe how lucky I am. luckiest person in the world. we are loving life. and eating a lot of blinok.
saying goodbye to the brothers was sad. they are all pretty legit. saying goodbye to Festus and alfred was pretty sad, you never know what is going to happen to investigators, especially those from Africa. but actually, I got a call yesterday from Elder Hales, and they put alfred on date, so they could have 2 baptisms this transfer. in my area right now we have a cool lady on date to be baptized on february 18th, and she was at church yesterday! she is a middle aged woman with friends in the church, so it could definitely happen. and she has a daughter who is an investigator, as well. so good things are happening here. the branch is pretty weak. about 30 people come, there are probably about 3 solid priesthood holders, it is a lot like ol' Mariupol. growing, slowly.
(Warning: Derek describes a crazy dream he had. This didn't really happen to him. And by the way he really does love Elder Mendoza.)
so I had a crazy dream to share with you. I had this dream thursday night. so it was me, and a few other missionaries, the only one I remember being was Elder Mendoza. we were in this crazy place, like an underground sewer place, but it was a sort of filthy sewer kingdom/ castle thing. its weird. there was the whole shebang there- a king, queen, princes, jesters, everything. well, Mendoza decided that we were going to start a revolution, so we started a little battle with them. it went on for a while, we were just killing each other. I was just killing everything in sight. just mercilessly. during the battle I wandered outside of the underground sewer castle and started killing people with another missionary, elder Nielsen. he kicked this little kid in the face, and it died. It was at about that moment when we both realized: this wasn't just an underground sewer kingdom. it was hell. we were in hell. and we realized that Mendoza was the devil. satan. we realized that we had been fighting for satan unbeknownst to us. we ran back to the castle, but it was too late. there was Mendoza, sitting on his throne, fire all around him. everyone was in chains. so i run up to him, to try to kill him, but there was an invisible force field around him, so i got knocked back. the dream ended with Mendoza laughing, and it was a pretty messed up dream.
i dont remember dreams that often, so that was pretty exciting. the next day we met a member of the branch named lance. lance. he is from canada. he is something of a legend in our mission. we heard that he was a dream interpreter, so we asked him about my dream. he interpreted it, and it was madness- he went off for a while about rape in liberia. he's one of those guys in the mission. crazy. but funny.
lugansk is such a great place. it is a beautiful place. i'm in the center of the city and it is just wonderful. it is also really cold. really, really cold. and everyone keeps telling us that it is going to get colder. our apartment is really cold too. but blinok cafe is nice and warm. seriously, our first night here was the coldest i've been on my mission. which probably means its the coldest i've been in my life. but don't worry. i will SURVIVE.
We met the branch on sunday, they are all pretty great people. a lot of old ladies, a handful of men, and several young women. pretty much the same as everywhere. strong-faithed individuals, but just don't quite know how to function as a branch yet. they will learn. it will just take a few more years.
so I'm very happy to be here. I should be finishing my mission here, if I have anything to do with it. I pray I do. great place, great companion, just perfect. couldn't ask for better. oh, by the way, my companion's name is Elder Pulsipher. he is from Colorado, at least that is where is family lives right now. he is Lizzie Fotheringham's cousin, which is funny. he is going to BYU this summer. we are getting along great.
ok, I love you guys. the gospel is true, the church is true, and the book of mormon is true.
love, elder Brimley